Watching Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats
Date: 9/1/2012 6:26:00 PM
Netflix Summary: This biographical documentary chronicles the controversial life of beat poet Jack Kerouac -- a fringe artist who posthumously became one of the most widely read writers in America -- and the experiences that inspired his greatest literary works. Kerouac's classic novel On the Road, with its stream-of-consciousness poetry (based on bebop jazz), greatly influenced the literary and rock music worlds.
This documentary mixes archival footage, dramatized sequences and snippets from interviews to reconstruct the life of Jack Kerouac. For me, it works only in the depiction of time since the Big Sur – the first half fails to immense energy and wanderlust that I always associated with Kerouac.
The dramatized sequences, with voiceover from his books fail miserably – at least in my view. The background score is nothing like I imagine the jazz that should fill Kerouac’s life. I would have preferred if the voiceover came over sequence of stills – like it does in a very small sequence.
But the film does capture the depression and pain of his later years – or what turned out to be his later years. The film deals with his “decline” with very much the same love that he deserved on his peak. Watch it to see him go under.