Could this poster for On The Road be any more ‘authentic’?

Wednesday April 18th 2012


Walter Salles’s long-awaited Jack Kerouac adaptation On The Road is pretty much a dead cert for Cannes next month, which is hardly surprising if you’ve seen its oh-so-artsy trailer. And if that didn’t convince the selection committee then this new character poster should do the trick — it’s a veritable tidal wave of authenticity.

Just look at Sam Riley’s expression! He’s so disenchanted! And that quote! It’s too raw for grammar! And the scratches all over the image! Presumably after years of abuse in the rough and tumble of … Photoshop. Here are five more ways to ratchet up the credibility of this magnificent work of art:

1. Pop it in a frame

The perfect addition to any country manor or stately home, I think you’ll agree. Note how the burnished gold really brings out the barely stifled fury in Sam Riley’s eyes. Still, it’s a tad on the bourgeois side for a counterculture manifesto like On the Road. Something a little more earthy might be more appropriate…

2. Age it with coffee

If I learnt one thing from Blue Peter it’s that even the most banal of documents can be made to rival the Bayeaux Tapestry for historical significance with the simple application of coffee. A character poster for an American road movie is no exception: just look how the wrinkles in the paper bring out the shadows in Riley’s delicate features.

3. Put it next to a less authentic poster

Comparison can work wonders. With the simple juxtaposition of this one-sheet for The Three Stooges, Salles’s film is transformed into a classic of cinema; a record for the ages; a milestone in the history of human endeavour. That said, the taglines of the two are roughly on a par.

4. Stick some film festival laurels on it

Distributor MK2 are bound to reissue the poster with a few laurels added once Cannes rolls around, but I say why wait? Look how nicely they tie the design together, whilst also providing a pair of fashionable sideburns for Sam Riley.

5. Mail it to the National Gallery

I will not rest until this is hanging within spitting distance of a Hogarth.