By • Article under Big Sur News

Truman Capote once famously remarked about Beat writer Jack Kerouac, “That’s not writing, that’s typing.” It’s on oft-repeated criticism, for people who don’t enjoy Kerouac usually complain about the man’s rapid-fire literary style, and the stream-of-consciousness prose that flowed from the man’s pen as if poured from a Benzedrine tap. For those who found Kerouac during their late teens or early 20s, and connected with the rebellious nature of his work, Big Sur (both the book and the film of the same name currently playing at the Sundance Film Festival) is a revelation, for it represents the man’s most honest work.

Unlike Kerouac’s previous novels, which depicted the writer during his earlier days as a bohemian artist and traveller, Big Sur tracks Kerouac after his literary career has taken off, and follows the writer’s struggles with fame, alcohol, and his own mortality. The film adaptation remains religiously faithful to the book in almost every way, and makes extensive use of Kerouac’s own voice from the novel as a narration device. Early in the picture, as Kerouac (a stunning Jean-Marc Barr) wanders the beaches of Big Sur, California, his voice rings out over the images, and explains that there’s a world of fans out there who imagine him as a vibrant 26 year old hitchhiking his way back and forth across the U.S.A.

The reality couldn’t be further from the truth, however. Well into middle-age, and the owner of a very severe alcohol addiction, Jack Kerouac at the time of Big Sur is a broken, lonely, frightened man with more uncertainty inside of him than at any other time in his life. He explains early in the picture that he’d gone to Big Sur to stay at a friend’s cabin by the beach, to write, dry out, and generally just escape the trappings of his own fame.

Yet the trip is a frightening wake-up call for Kerouac, who realizes very quickly that nothing, not even the idyllic setting of the northern-California coast, can save him. Death surrounds Kerouac, and seems to follow him wherever he goes. When he leaves the cabin to return to San Francisco, where booze and distractions from his thoughts abound, he learns of the death of his beloved cat back east, and is further saddened by the sight of a dead seal lapping up against the rocks of a coastline he visits later on. It’s a recurring theme, and one appropriate for a main character rapidly losing the grip on his own existence.

Seemingly unwilling to give up the promise of his own redemption within the confines of the Big Sur cabin, yet equally incapable of leaving the companionship of the adoring San Francisco community, Jack combines the two, and gets anyone willing to do so to come back with him into the wilderness. One gets the sense listening to Kerouac’s narration prose that these people act as a necessary distraction for the writer, who seems haunted by his own company, and the dark thoughts that he can’t seem to escape.

As a cinematic adaptation of a literary piece, Big Sur is near-flawless, for it makes extensive use of Kerouac’s writing from the book, and uses its powerful cadence and pacing to draw the audience into the increasingly fragmented mind of the legendary Beatnik. Yet this may also be the film’s biggest problem, for it treats Kerouac’s writing as gospel, and never seems to tire of its harmony. For fans of the author, this is a welcome addition to an already breathtaking visual feast, yet for those with little patience for Kerouac and his comma-sparse prose, it may be something of a chore. And while this particular journalist loved every moment of it and felt like he’d returned to some lost corner of his early 20s, others might not find it quite so appealing.

That aside, Big Sur stands as a wonderful counterpoint to another film playing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Kill Your Darlings, which is about the formation of the literary movement that would ultimately haunt Kerouac decades later, during the Big Sur period. The exuberance and optimism of youth found in Kill Your Darlings is vanished by the time of Big Sur, leaving only the shell of what was once a talented, brave writer with a literary voice that could cut glass. And while that talent remains, the vessel housing it is broken, and beyond the repair of a man who seems to know he’s too far gone for help.

Wonderful supporting performances are turned in by Balthazar Getty (playing Michael McClure) and Josh Lucas (Neal Cassady), but especially by Kate Bosworth as Billie, a woman trying to “save” Kerouac via domesticated strangulation. As a film, Big Sur remains fanatically faithful to its source material, which, again, may drive a lot of people off (there were at least 20 walk-outs during the Sundance Press & Industry screening).

It’s a film about an unapologetic and nasty drunk whose mental state is increasingly taxed, yet it’s as honest a picture as any playing at Sundance this year. For those out there who aren’t a fan of Kerouac, consider yourself warned. For those, like this author, who have long-since discovered the beauty in Kerouac’s tortured prose, it’s as close to a true, authentic adaptation of the man’s work as you’re ever gonna get.

source: scene-stealers.com


Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
Newest Photos
image722.jpg
image721.jpg
image719.jpg
image720.jpg
image718.jpg
image717.jpg
image715.jpg
image716.jpg
image713.jpg
image714.jpg
image711.jpg
image712.jpg
Site Features
Current Projects
Serpent Girl (????)
Kate as: N/A
Genre: Drama | Fantasy
Directed by: Matthew Carnahan
Status: In development
Information | Official | Gallery

Lost Girls and Love Hotels (2015)
Kate as: Margaret
Genre: Drama
Directed by: -
Status: In development
Information | Official | Gallery

Homefront (2013)
Kate as: Cassie Bodine
Genre: Drama
Directed by: -
Status: In development
Information | Official | Gallery

"Fairytale of New York" (2013)
Kate as: N/A
Genre: Romance
Directed by: -
Status: In development
Information | Official | Gallery

Movie 43 (2013)
Kate as: Arlene
Genre: Comedy
Directed by: Elizabeth Banks
Status: Post-production
Information | Official | Gallery

Black Rock (2013)
Kate as: Sarah
Genre: Horror | Thriller
Directed by: Katie Aselton
Status: In theaters February 2013
Information | Official | Gallery

Big Sur (2012)
Kate as: Billie
Genre: Drama
Directed by: Michael Polish
Status: Post-production
Information | Official | Gallery



JewelMint (2010 - )
Kate as: designer
Available: from 2010
Exclusively for: BeachMint
Information | Official | Gallery



SK-II (2012)
Kate as: face of SK-II
Available: from 2012
Photographed by: -
Information | Official | Gallery





Elite Affiliates



Become One | See All
Site Donations
If you have any photos of Kate that aren't in our gallery and want to share pictures with us please email us, we would love to have your photos in our gallery! Also if you have some icons, videos or etc., e-mail it to us at katebosworthorg@gmail.com and we will post it on the site! Thank you!
Site Information & Disclamier
Site Name: Kate Bosworth Online
Maintained by: Steph
Previous owners:Lilian, Cher, Ivan & Gioia
Hosted by: Fan-Sites.org
Opened Since: 2003
Listed at: TFC, CL
Fans Online:



Fan Sites NetworkPrivacy PolicyDMCA
Kate Bosworth Online is in no way affiliated with Kate Bosworth or her management. This is a non profit fansite made by a fan, for the fans. All photos & media belong to their respectful owners no copyright infringement is intended. Graphics and coding are by us unless otherwise stated. If you have any questions, problems etc feel free to contact us
© 2003 - 2013