30 October 2013 11:00 AM, PDT | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

On the Audio: Polish Takes the Elegiac Beat

Premiering at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival alongside Kill Your Darlings, which documented a pre-Road Kerouac, filmmaker Michael Polish adapts Big Sur, one of the author’s later works depicting a post-peak ennui that afflicted the famed Beat. As both films enjoy an overlapping theatrical release, Polish’s title is certainly the harder sell, a downbeat (forgive the pun) sprawl into a nervous breakdown that’s miles away from the vivacious Kerouac in the Krokidas film or in Walter Salles’ 2012 adaptation of On the Road. Moody, melancholic, and muted visuals of lonely sweeping landscapes accompany a film comprised entirely of dour voiceover from Jean-Marc Barr, well cast as Kerouac. But as lively and expressive as Barr’s rendition is, Polish’s dependence on the device grows tiring, even at a rather slim running time.

Based on his 1962 novel, which recounts three brief visits »

- Nicholas Bell

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