Director Chuck Workman has spliced together an affectionate, if uncritical, biography of the American Beats. The Source mingles footage of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs with dramatized performances by Johnny Depp, John Turturro, and Dennis Hopper as each respective Beat. Workman posits the Beats as the “source” for American counterculture, establishing a skewed genealogy that places these rich white boys who got into jazz, drugs, and exoticism at the formative center of all things alternative. Fans will enjoy archival footage, although no new light is cast on the subject matter. To the contrary, The Source contributes to an obscuring myth that performs a disservice to the Beats' experimentalism by portraying them as the kind of fixed icons they sought to overturn.
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