There are movies that come along that require a certain point of view for you to really grasp what they are trying to accomplish. The latest Big Sur, based on the novel of the same from famed author Jack Kerouac. The film sports a decent cast including Jean-Marc Barr, Kate Bosworth, Josh Lucas, Radha Mitchell, Anthony Edwards, Balthazar Getty, Stana Katic, and Henry Thomas, but does the film succeed in doing the story justice?
Big Sur is a recounting of Jack Kerouac's (here known by the name of his fictional alter-ego Jack Duluoz, three sojourns to the cabin in Big Sur, owned by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. This is one of those films that is all about the study of the characters as opposed to the flash and trash of typical Hollywood cinema. The performances here are all great really allowing these characters to bring more than just dialogue to life on the screen. Each of them brings a different struggle and emotion to their roles. The visuals to the film are beautiful showcasing the various landscapes and ocean views of the all the locales. In addition the period tone gives it another level of impressive beauty with the attention to detail. Where the film will most likely lose some is the story itself. It’s not bad or anything, but it will be an acquired taste and depend on you understanding what they were trying to accomplish as well as your mentality regarding Kerouac’s writings.
The filmmaker made a brave choice having the film’s narrative play like an audio book similar to that of a Shakespearean play to keep things moving. This is hard to get into at first and will likely put off those that do not understand the reasoning behind it, but it works pretty well. This is not a film for everyone and does run a bit slow at times, but succeeds as a character driven film that relies just on that, the characters.