Jack Kerouac continues to be one of literatures most polarizing figures ever. His work was considered the work of what became known as “the Beat Generation”. His iconic book “On The Road became the beatnik handbook. The trouble was, Kerouac didn’t stay a 26 year old hitch hiking drifter, as he brings out in Big Sur, which would be one of his last books published just 7 years before he died.
Big Sur chronicles the his 3 trips to a cabin in Big Sur, California as a place of solitude and a place he escaped in hopes of pulling his life in order. By this point in his life he is 40 years old, deep in the throws of alcoholism and dealing with what we now as bi-polar disorder. His attempts to satisfy those who love his work and feel a self satisfaction is the struggle with in him.
Kerouac took three trips to Big Sur during the span of the story and each time he spiraled deeper and deeper into near madness.
The film is one of the most beautifully cinematic efforts of the year showing the San Francisco and Big Sur coast elegantly and with true awe and beauty. Since it’s discovery, people have flock to California and it has held a pull on people of all kinds all over the world. The cinematography of this film surly gives the viewer a glimpse of what the draw is.
The actual execution of the film is intended to get you deep in the head of Kerouac and getting you feeling and understanding what was brewing in his mind. This unfortunately leads to an unnecessary amount of narration that leads nothing to the viewers viewpoint and leaves one unable to draw his own conclusions. It interrupts what could be vey useful and insightful dialogue.
This is not to suggest the acting or structure of the film is not one that is well acted and well constructed. It is just a side note that anyone who is not a fan of narration needs to be aware of. As I mentioned the film is a visual marvel and can be compared to a live action painting. It is a sad story and even can be hard to understand, because you are, in essence, watching to demise of one of the great literary minds of the American 20th century. Kerouac had a way of seeing the world that envy most writers and his way of expression was unprecedented. I guess thats why there is such a desire to see what he saw and thought live on the big screen.