On the Road Debuts at Cannes
Kerouac adaptation 30 years in the making debuts
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2012 5:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – The film adaptation of On the Road has finally reached the screen, more than 30 years after producer Roman Coppola bought the rights to Jack Kerouac's Beat Generation classic. The movie, which stars Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, and Kirsten Dunst, made its debut at the Cannes film festival yesterday, reports the BBC. Director Walter Salles told reporters that he tried to stay true to Kerouac's improvisational style in his sex, drugs, and jazz-filled semi-autobiographical novel.

The movie is "about the loss of innocence, it's about the search for that last frontier they'll never find," Salles says. "It's about also discovering that this is the end of the road and the end of the American dream." Early reviews have been mixed, with the Telegraph's Robbie Collins calling it a "tedious loop of beatnik debauchery." But Kerouac's original had its share of criticism when it came out in 1957: A Time reviewer called the work a "barbaric yawp of a book."