The long-awaited first feature film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road is finally hitting theaters later this year, and two clips have landed online. One clip features a scene between Garrett Hedlund’s Dean and Kirsten Dunst’s Camille, while the other clip centers on Kristen Stewart’s character. As you may or may not have heard, Stewart tackles the sexually charged character of Marylou head-on with more than one nude scene, and it’s clear from the first reactions to the film that some of her young Twilight fans may be a bit shocked to see their beloved Bella promiscuously taking part in three-ways—if they’re old enough to get into the R-rated film in the first place, that is.
On the Road premiered yesterday at the Cannes Film Festival, and we’ve rounded up some choice quotes from the first reviews. Hit the jump to check out the clips and to see how director Walter Salles’ adaptation was received at Cannes.
Here are the clips:
Drew McWheeny at Hitfix singled out the performances of Hedlund and Sam Riley in his positive review of the film:
“On The Road does not feel like a dry history lesson, nor is it overly reverent toward its subjects. Instead, Salles, working with screenwriter Jose Rivera, managed to make something that has a pulse of its own, and that’s due in no small part to the casting of Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley as Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise. They have a strong, easy chemistry that pays off over the course of the film, and it provides a solid base upon which the rest of the film is built.”
James Rocchi noted in his review for The Playlist how refreshing it was to see Stewart free from the restraints of her Bella character in the Twilight series:
“Kristen Stewart is Dean’s paramour Marylou, and seeing her liberated from the silly straitjacket of servile moping she has to perform in the Twilight films is a huge relief.”
Rocchi adds that a weakness of the film is the audience’s disconnect with the actions of the characters:
“If there’s one thing that wounds On the Road, it’s that the film is full of things — having sex, doing drugs, being free — that are far more enjoyably experienced by one’s self as opposed to watching other people enjoy them on screen; even when the free-living, debauched events on screen are at their highest… you still feel pressed against the glass on the other side of the shop window from the goodies.”
Owen Gelibermann echoed Rocchi’s comments in his EW review:
“The strange thing about the movie, which takes place over several years in the late ’40s and early ’50s, is that even as we’re observing all of these activities, they’re a little hard to connect to. Music and wild dancing, unbridled sex, poetic streams of language: These are all good things, but in On the Road they’re staged with a resoundingly earnest, museum-piece diligence. And so it’s a little hard to experience what the movie wants to give you, which is a contact high.”
Eric Kohn addressed the difficulty of translating Kerouac’s source material to the screen in his review for IndieWire:
“By its end, On the Road has made a case for how it can work as a movie and why certain aspects of it never can. In essence, the movie is about the book rather than a fleshed-out realization of it.”
“Riley’s true counterpoint in the story comes from Stewart’s achievement as the giddy, pleasure-seeking Marylou, a credible performance made particularly noteworthy for her current fame in the Twilight franchise; frequently going nude, speaking up and dominating most of her scenes, she buries her movie stardom with this refreshingly non-commercial gig.”
All in all, the reviews are surprisingly positive given that many thought Kerouac’s novel was utterly unfilmable. Certainly when pulling from prose-like source material the feature adaptation will have narrative issues, but On the Road looks to benefit from some truly impressive lead performances and a ballsy detour for superstar Kristen Stewart.