On the Road Reviews
What he doesn't give us - and what makes the book work - is Kerouac's bedazzled bohemian swoon. Without it, On the Road is a curiously remote experience, all reason and no rhyme.
Salles, an intelligent director whose films include "The Motorcycle Diaries," doesn't invest "On the Road" with the wildness it needs for its visual style, narrative approach and leads.
Although Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" has been praised as a milestone in American literature, this film version brings into question how much of a story it really offers.
While Kerouac's odyssey lacks conventional narrative or novelistic beats (though it comes with plenty of the other kind), the restlessness of the prose has its own cinematic allure.
What's best about the film are its quick jumps from one depravity to the next as jazz rambles on the soundtrack: Youth is a candle to be burned at both ends, with (as it was once said about Bob Dylan) a blowtorch in the middle.
The film is a handsomely photographed and competently cast work that does justice to Kerouac's concept of "the purity of the road." Yet there's still something maddeningly lacking about it.