The film was long due. The talks about the film had started to assume historic proportions of their own. The book had come out in the Fifties and since then people had been keenly anticipating a film version. No that the film is here, and have been seen my most of us privileged ones, it is time to present a take on the same.
I had read the book just as I had stepped into college. A dear friend of mine had given me the initiation on Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. The latter's poems had formed the motif in many a work of fiction in Bangla as well. The author Buddhadev Guha for example had referred to the philosophy behind Ginsberg's works. The poet and novelist Sunil Gangopadhyay too had referred to the Beat Generation and the influence that they had on the youth of their times. I would often wonder what it would be like to see them in flesh and blood, to be catapulted to the heady life that they lived. Reading the book, a biographical novel, open my the vistas of my mind, although I have to admit that it took a lot of effort on my part to learn and admire the nuances, the signposts, largely ignorant that I was about American history of that period.
As I saw the film, the memories of reading the book, my introduction to a whole new world, came alive. Such personal associations are cherished by any individual, I'm sure. The book borrowed from the American Library had to be renewed twice so that I could afford to have a blast with the characters: Sal, Dean, Marylou, and Carlo Marx. The film has cast a whole gamut of talented actors in the key roles and has tried to recapture the late Forties brilliantly. But, I rue the fact that people who haven't read the book or are familiar with the backdrop cannot fathom the dramatic intensity or the historic significance by merely watching the film. The road odyssey is visually brilliant, sometimes stunning, but the 'trippy' yet exuberant trip remains a stilted and somewhat flawed documentation and some of the characters too fail to come alive as they do on the pages of the book.
Garrett Hedlund, as Dean Moriarty, steals the show. Sam Riley plays Sal, and Kristen Stewart plays Marylou, both of whom I found to be earnest, quite so. Also in the cast are Viggo Mortensen, Tom Sturridge, Amy Adams, Alice Braga, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, Terence Howard, and Steve Buscemi.
Éric Gautier is the director of cinematography, Gustavo Santaolalla has provided with the musical score, and the film has been directed by Walter Salles.