Saturday, June 2, 2012

999. Into the Wild (2007)

Running Time: 144 minutes
Directed By: Sean Penn
Written By: Sean Penn
Main Cast: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn
Click here to view the trailer


After a few days off, following the viewing of one of my least favorite films from THE BOOK, I've returned and am ready to tackle the final thirty-three films of this 100 and reach the halfway mark of my journey. Coincidentally, "Into the Wild" tells the story of Christopher "Alexander Supertramp" McCandless, a true journeyman.

When Chris McCandless graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, at the age twenty-two, his grades were so good that, for a brief time, he considered continuing on to Harvard Law. His parents were wealthy - his father worked for NASA and later, his parents opened their own company - and they more than approved of Chris' decision to enter into a career in law. However, following graduation, Chris emptied his $24,000 savings account and sent the funds to Oxfam International, a hunger charity, cut up his driver's license and all of his identification and burned his social security card and set out on the road, toward a life of adventure. The film is told in a very non-linear narrative, actually following three separate stories: Chris' initial journey through Arizona and Southern California, Chris' ultimate journey of living in Alaska and his sister Carine's narration, as she tells about her and Chris' stressful childhood home life. Along the way Chris meets many people, some who merely give him a ride to the next town, stopping for his raised thumb and others, whom he spends considerable time with and gets to know.


I have to admit that I wasn't digging this movie at first. The sporadic editing, the jumping back and forth, forth and back to tell this seemingly simple story, it just didn't seem to be working for me. But suddenly, I found myself warming to the character of Chris McCandless and as the movie progressed, I realized I was really starting to get into it. Do you sympathize for a man who, despite warnings from many friends and acquaintances, goes to Alaska and dies of starvation? I did. I saw a man who wasn't happy (or didn't think he was happy) with his home life. Didn't care for his parents and on a grander scale, didn't care for social customs, like having a career and the importance that was placed on being wealthy. I saw a man who just went for it, took hold of his own life and followed his heart. He experienced adventure and, despite dying alone, made many friendships on the way to Alaska. By the end, the story had gotten so heavy and emotional, that I couldn't help but get a little soft and realize that I was liking this film a lot more than I expected to. Chris finally realizes that being solitude wasn't the answer. In his dying thought, he daydreams about returning to his parents, when in reality he will die alone, in a bus, in the middle of Alaska.

Why isn't Emile Hirsch getting more steady work, because the guy is a great actor, if you ask me. He did a fine job in a little praised comedy, "The Girl Next Door" and was outstanding here, under the direction of Sean Penn. I can't say that I enjoyed the particular direction that Sean Penn went with "Into the Wild" and am convinced that someone more qualified could've told the story a bit better. It just needed a bit of tweaking in certain spots, to iron out the few flaws. Eddie Vedder provides the soundtrack and you can't go wrong there, as Vedder provides the perfect music for this adventure story.

RATING: 7.5/10  Keeping the reviews short, mostly because I just don't have much else to say. This was good and if it grows on me a little more, it could get a "Ten Worth Mentioning" nod on the next TOP 20.


June 2, 2012  2:01pm

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