Beats are all over the movies lately -- there was “On the Road” late last year, October will bring “Kill Your Darlings,” and then comes “Big Sur,” which is set to open in November. The official “Big Sur” trailer is above.
The movie is based on “Big Sur,” the 1962 novel by Jack Kerouac. In it, Kerouac’s alter ego, Jack Duluoz, retreats to a rustic cabin on the coast of Northern California in an effort to get a grip on a life that’s spun out of control -- the freedom of “On the Road” has been dampened by fame, alcohol and the pressures of adulthood.
“It’s the first trip since the publication of ‘Road,’ the book that made me famous,” says Duluoz/Kerouac in the trailer’s voice-over. “All over America kids thinking ‘Jack Kerouac is 26 years old and on the road.’ Well, there I am almost 40 and I’m supposed to be the king of the beatniks.”
That’s just a wee bit problematic, but pretty typical: It conflates Kerouac the writer and Duluoz the character. Though “Big Sur” certainly has autobiographical elements, it isn’t a memoir. But, like “On the Road,” it seems it’s easier for films to make Kerouac and his creations one thing.
That aside, the film looks beautiful. And actor Jean-Marc Barr seems to have an understanding of Kerouac that goes far beyond hero worship. “What I play in ‘Big Sur’ is the end of the life of an egoist,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
The movie, directed by Michael Polish, also stars Anthony Edwards as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Josh Lucas as Neal Cassidy, and Kate Bosworth and Radha Mitchell as the ladies Jack and Neal love.