Big Sur

Film Info
Section:World Cinema
Premiere Status:USA
Year of Prod:2012
Running Time:90
Original Language:English
dir:Michael Polish
prod:Mark Roberts
Ross Jacobson
Eddie Vaisman
Orian Williams
scr:Michael Polish
cam:M. David Mullen
editor:Robert Frazen
mus:Bryce Dessner
Aaron Dessner
cast:Jean-Marc Barr
Kate Bosworth
Josh Lucas
Radha Mitchell
source:3311 Productions
3522 Hayden Ave
Culver City
CA 90232

Jean-Marc Barr is a middle-aged, alcoholic Jack Kerouac trying to outrun his demons in Michael Polish's deft adaptation of the writer's 1962 novel. Five years after On the Road transformed the literary landscape and made Kerouac the reluctant face of the Beat Generation, he returns to San Francisco to reunite with old friends like Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Anthony Edwards), Michael McClure (Balthazar Getty) and Neal Cassady (Josh Lucas) and to attempt to get sober in an isolated Big Sur cabin. Polish extracts poetry from the writer's sad late novel that tracks the start of his physical decline and the fraying of once-tight friendships. Barr is terrific both in performance and in voice over as he narrates directly from Kerouac's book and he is surrounded by exceptionally well-cast support, including Patrick Fischler as Lew Welch, Henry Thomas as Philip Whalen, Radha Mitchell as Neal’s wife Carolyn and Kate Bosworth as Billie, the woman both Jack and Neal love. Lucas’ Cassady in particular is a revelation, perfectly embodying the physicality, speed-rapping charm and sexual charisma Kerouac describes. Polish’s seventh collaboration with cinematographer M. David Mullen yields spectacular results both in the paradise on earth that is Big Sur and in San Francisco where locations include Tenderloin tenements, City Lights Bookstore and Tosca in only the third screen adaptation of one of Kerouac's books and one that proves that the writer's dense, language-driven novels can, indeed, be gloriously cinematic.
-Pam Grady

Additional Information

Michael Polish

Michael Polish grew up in Sacramento, CA and graduated with a BFA in Art from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, before turning to filmmaking. He made his directorial debut with Twin Falls Idaho (1999), a drama that he co-wrote and co-starred in with his twin brother Mark Polish. Among his other films are Jackpot (2001), Northfork (2003), The Astronaut Farmer (2006) and For Lovers Only (2011).