Had a chance to watch Into the Wild on DVD the other night. Though this isn’t an uplifting movie, there’s quite a bit to take away from the amazing story of Chris McCandless and his two year journey in his early 20s to the wilds of Alaska to find the truth of his life.
Directed by Sean Penn, this script adapted from Jon Krakauer‘s book is amazing. Emile Hirsch as Chris McCandless showed courage and dedication hardly seen in movies today. The only comparison I can make is with Christian Bale in the Mechanic or Rescue Dawn. That kind of gritty near death experience is hard to watch, but hard to tear your eyes from also.
What struck me as funny about this movie (in an odd way, since it’s not really a funny movie at all) was how much it follows the Titanic format. If you know anything about the story, you know the main character dies at the end. But by the end, you begin to wonder if maybe he’ll somehow make it. And then you’re heartbroken when he doesn’t.
Chris McCandless graduates from college and goes on a nearly two year journey to find his truth. He abandons his savings and his earthly possessions, and keeps only the few things he needs to survive. And he explores the bounds of human existence all the way to death’s door.
This movie showcases a number of things for me:
- Chris McCandless’ amazing story
- Sean Penn’s amazing directing abilities
- Emile Hirsch’s extraordinary acting abilities
- And the amazing beauty and hardness of the natural world — From Arizona and California to Alaska
It’s an amazingly beautiful film. Seamless transitions and a show, don’t tell policy make you a part of Chris’ amazing journey.
What to like? Everything. All the way down to Eddie Vedder‘s work on the soundtrack.
What not to like? He dies! How can you like that?!? This bright kid only two years my senior had an amazing journey and was only able to share it posthumously by the accidental discovery of his body two weeks after he died.
This is a definite 4/4, but you have to be ready for it. Towards the end, Hirsch was only skin and bones and it’s not pretty. Definitely not one for the kids. But one worth seeing for sure.
Until next time…