Skip to main content

A scene from "On the Road"

2.5 out of 4 stars

Title
On the Road
Directed by
Walter Salles
Starring
Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart
Genre
Drama
Country
France/Brazil

Some films based on books are interpretations, some are realizations and some are wish fulfilment. To the latter camp belongs the long-awaited, longer-delayed On the Road. Directed not by a nostalgic American but by Brazil's Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries), it's a beautifully peopled dream – Sam Riley plays Sal, Garrett Hedlund is Dean and Kristen Stewart riffs on Marylou – that feels at once bigger and emptier than Kerouac's portable classic. (Yes, even with a fresh, post-Cannes edit.) Scenery chews up the characters, save for some brilliant minor turns by Kirsten Dunst and Steve Buscemi. Famous, faithfully delivered lines fall short; infamous sex scenes fall through. The film is gorgeous, affecting, suitably scattershot. But at the end, when writer-hero Sal Paradise finally bangs out the whole book in three minutes of screen time, you're left wondering: What took so long?

Sept. 7, 11:30 a.m., Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Report an error
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.