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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

NZIFF review: On The Road

On The Road
Director: Walter Salles

The audience that filled the Civic was painfully scenester. It had more over glassed glasses, pointed shoes and hipster hats than a performance of the Wellington Ukulele Orchestra. I wasn't sure if it was the chance to see a topless Kirsten Stewart giving double handed hand-jobs or garden variety Kerouac worship, but there was a lot of anticipation.

Firstly, it isn't as good as the book. Nothing could be, but the sheer joy of speed and freedom that Walter Salles inspires with sweeping tracking shots of the passage of movement manage to visually capture the rupture of youth that 'On the Road' espouses.

I was curious as to how this classic would translate to todays audience. Middle class angst and the collision of adulthood and respectability is probably a stronger theme to the scenester generation these days than the hedonistic charms of the original.

The moment Sal Paradise walks away from Dean Moriarty leaving a comrade in arms to drown is that tipping point in every life to risk the gains of security for those who have failed to find that security.

With an economy tanking, this story of raw desire for freedom is probably more relevant than ever.

3 and a half stars



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