Simone from our Brazilian sister site, Hedlund Brasil, was lucky enough to see On the Road today. She wrote a thoughtful review of the movie and she graciously gave me permission to share it here. – Laura

On the Road

The movie starts with steps. Whether you realize it or not, the steps have a rhythm of their own, and that rhythm – the bebop – permeates the entire movie, from these steps, to all the songs and dances, to the typewriting; there couldn’t be a more perfect rhythm, since it has no rules and it flows as it comes; it’s just as natural and rebellious and free-spirited as the characters. Walter alternates those scenes with moments when he throws us in complete silence; by doing that, he mirrors the characters’ stillness of mind, which often leads them to get back on the road, back in the unruly rhythm. They just cannot stand being still, although deep down all of them know – all of them, from the crazy ass maniac egoistic Dean to the 16-year old Marylou – that they’re going to have to stop, sooner or later. And when they do stop, it’s always painful to watch.

This is a movie that belongs to men. Sal is initially motivated by the loss of his father; Dean is looking for his old man as well. And Dean pulls all of them together, they’re connected by a sort of “mental lust” for each other – they want to be together and talk and experience and be connected and free in a way that few people understand. Their physical relationship is a mere consequence of all that.

That being said, the women in the movie are remarkable. Kristen plays a quiet, almost repressed Marylou. Don’t get me wrong here: sexually speaking, she’s open (no pun intended, I swear), but her emotions are always at the surface. The moment when they’re at Old Bull Lee’s house and Marylou realizes what kind of life she really wants is shot beautifully by Walter, and performed also beautifully by Kristen. Kirsten is a great Camille – a woman who knows what she wants, but falls prey to Dean’s charm nonetheless. And last, Amy Adams. She is by far my favorite supporting character in the movie. Jane is just… out of it, and Amy hits all the right notes.

The men are equally outstanding. Terrence Howard is in the movie for about 2 minutes, but it’s enough to leave his mark. Old Bull Lee is performed masterfully by Viggo Mortensen, from his first (and heartbreaking) scene. I liked Tom Sturridge more than I thought I would. Sam played Sal with sensibility and that subtle urge to experience new things and meet new people, and when he finally leaves, the old road gives him everything and also takes it all away. He could have used a little more energy, but I think that’s ok when your counterpart is a ball of fire – his role is a shadow, and he played it as such.

Which brings us all to the man who’s the reason why I went to see this movie in the first place, Garrett Hedlund. I have been a fan of his for a little more than two years (it definitely feels like more than that), and I’m not ashamed to say that I have reached a whole new level of respect for him as an actor after watching On The Road. He plays Dean Moriarty in a perfect, schizophrenic way. In most of his scenes, he is made of pure, raw energy; you get the constant feeling that unless he goes out and does something – anything –, he’s going to explode. However, even though his body is restless, his eyes always show a glint of melancholy, like he’s almost sorry to be losing something he’s not quite sure what it is. And in other scenes, he’s just plain sad and lonely. I didn’t cry, but my every time Dean’s eyes welled up, mine did too. We want him, hate him, love him, all at the same time. I guess it’s sort of how everyone feels about him. And if Garrett doesn’t land a couple of nominations, I will give up on understanding how these awards work. This is a performance to be watched and respected.

~ Simone

Hedlund Brasil's Review of On the Road
Laura
13 Jul, 2012



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