The Sundance Film Festival is just around the corner, and for fans of the Beats who didn’t get their fill with Walter Salles‘ “On The Road,” two more movies are being unveiled at Park City that will be trying to capture their spirt. A bit more high profile is “Kill Your Darlings,” with an all star cast including Daniel Radcliffe, Elizabeth Olsen, Ben Foster, David Cross, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Jason Leigh and more. But one flying under the radar is Michael Polish‘s “Big Sur,” an adaptation of Jack Kerouac‘s famed book – and this trailer should bring it fresh attention.
Unexpectedly beautiful, subtly stylized and powered by The Flamingos timeless “I Only Have Eyes For You,” where other movies have tried pursuing the spirit and abandon of the Beats, this one seems a lot more contemplative, perhaps more intent to capture the atmosphere that inspired them. Kate Bosworth, Josh Lucas and Jean-Marc Barr lead the movie as Billie, Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac respectively, with the semi-autographical tale centering Kerouac’s battle with fame post-“On The Road,” his struggle with drugs and his relationship with Cassady’s mistress. Anthony Edwards, Radha Mitchell, Balthazar Getty and Henry Thomas round out the cast. Here’s the synopsis:
Big Sur focuses on a moment in Jack Kerouac’s life when, overwhelmed by the success of his opus On the Road and struggling with alcoholism, he retreats to his publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s cabin in the small, coastal California town of Big Sur, which eventually inspires his 1962 novel of the same name. Kerouac’s time begins with quiet moments of solitude and communing with nature. But, struck by loneliness, he hightails it to San Francisco, where he resumes drinking heavily and gets pushed into a relationship with his best friend Neal Cassady’s mistress, Billie.
While writer/director Michael Polish (Twin Falls Idaho) explores a less glamorous moment in Kerouac’s legacy—one of alienation and mental breakdown—Big Sur equally examines the beauty of this time in the writer’s life, witnessed in the romance of friendship and the purity of nature. Jean-Marc Barr embodies Kerouac’s intelligence and masculinity, but also portrays him at his most contemplative and vulnerable. Luscious and breathtaking, Big Sur approaches a religious cinematic experience.
No distribution yet for “Big Sur” but in just a few weeks, that could all change.