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.

    Owen Gleiberman — Entertainment Weekly

  • It all seems - dare I say it? - of little consequence.

    Stephen Holden — New York Times

  • 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.

    Manohla Dargis — New York Times

  • Walter Salles's warm but strangely staid adaptation of a piece of literature that was never meant to be tamed as cinema.

    Ann Hornaday — Washington Post

  • Against all odds, a surprisingly effective movie.

    Ty Burr — Boston Globe

  • Another "primitive" postwar antique repurposed for boutique sale.

    Nick Pinkerton — Village Voice

  • Salles has made an admirable effort, which - while no roman candle - can be appreciated for its honest ambitions.

    Elizabeth Weitzman — New York Daily News

  • It's neither the first nor the best road trip that Mr. Salles has brought to the screen.

    Joe Morgenstern — Wall Street Journal

  • This, and a certain lack of what one could call narrative thrust, makes 'On the Road' a strange, diffuse experience, offering occasional glimpses of genuine beauty ...

    Glenn Kenny — MSN Movies

  • A pleasant but undistinguished adaptation of Jack Kerouac's 1957 novel about himself and his Beat friends in the late forties.

    David Denby — New Yorker

  • 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.

    Roger Ebert — Chicago Sun-Times

  • 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.

    Michael Phillips — Chicago Tribune

  • In Salles, screenwriter Jose Rivera and company's effort to get the details right, they only get so far. And it's not quite far enough.

    Steven Rea — Philadelphia Inquirer

  • It took more than half a century, but Jack Kerouac's autobiographical cult novel of bohemian youth in postwar America has reached the screen in wonderful form.

    Colin Covert — Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • It's not a wreck of a movie; it's not a sleek race car either. But there's heat to be felt here.

    Tom Long — Detroit News

  • Director Walter Salles' film is fairly faithful to the source material. It's not going to start a movement, though.

    Bill Goodykoontz — Arizona Republic

  • Despite the high level of craft here, it's an inadequate substitute for the thrilling, sustaining intelligence of Kerouac's voice.

    Justin Chang — Variety

  • 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.

    Kyle Smith — New York Post

  • 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.

    Peter Howell — Toronto Star

  • a respectful, tuned-in approach

    Jordan Hoffman — Film.com

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