Walter Salles’ vibrant adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s seminal novel follows three youths from the beat generation as they traverse the different landscapes of America. Sal Paradise (Control’s Sam Riley) has the pen and paper, but is lacking in inspiration. That is, until he meets the passionate and fearless young couple Dean and Marylou (Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart). They have a hunger of taking risks, seeing more, and living their lives. Together the three drive across the country, meet fascinating characters (played by Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, and more), and form their own unhinged ideal of the American dream.
Jack Kerouac was the voice of the beat generation in the 20th century, and it’s with boldness and beautiful charisma that filmmaker Walter Salles tackles his dynamic novel. The ensemble cast is committed and illuminating – especially Stewart, in one of her first post-Twilight roles. She captures the generation’s verve and sensuality, bringing an edge but also vulnerability to the role. On the Road is a film that reaffirms the adage: it’s not where you’re going that matters, but how you get there.