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Review of “Into The Wild” (2007) R 148min

March 17th, 2008 by Maxim · 4 Comments · 6,348 Views


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Director: Sean Penn
Writer: Sean Penn (screenplay), Jon Krakauer (book)
Producers: David Blocker, Frank Hildebrand, John J. Kelly, Art Linson, Sean Penn, William Pohlad
Original Music: Michael Brook, Kaki King, Kaki King
Cinematography: Eric Gautier
Art Direction: John Richardson, Domenic Silvestri
Paramount Vantage | River Road Films | Art Linson Productions | River Road Entertainment

The plot: a young man Christopher McCandles (Emile Hirsch) from a middle-class dysfunctional family just graduated from Emory University with all A’s and a successful athlete, but to surprise of his parents, instead of continuing his education in Harward, where he could easily have been accepted, he abandons all his savings and other possessions and leaves everything behind to hike to Alaska to live in the wild. The movie explores his motivation and his adventure. Based on true story.

The good: It’s a very nicely done movie, very deep and moving, with lovable characters and great acting, although acting is not very complex – it’s just life – not too sophisticated, not too oversimplified. Nice story of a young man who runs from his family, meets a lot of interesting people that affect his life and he affects theirs, and finds the quiet happiness he sought, but realizes that true “happiness is only real if shared”. In the beginning it felt like he’s just a hippie who goes “soul searching” and left his family without saying anything, which made them really desperately worried. But then the story of his family is told by his sister and it becomes clear why he adandons his family and middle-class life with all their “things” and expectations, careers, materialism etc – things that he felt enslaved him – things that kept him in the sweet comfort of blissful ignorane. He wanted to really see his limits and live a simple self-sufficient sustainable life away from “society”. Most of the people he interracted with were kind to him. “The core of man’s spirit comes from new experiences”. This movie is very moving and thought-provoking. Great cast: everyone is such a character! Beautiful cinematography, down to every shot.

Nominated for 2 Oscars, with other 7 wins and 29 nominations.

The bad: It’s over two hours long and sort of too mellow at times. Often feels like a KPCC travel special set to music.

The cast: Chris McCandless – Emile Hirsch | Billie McCandless – Marcia Gay Harden | Walt McCandless – William Hurt | Carine McCandless – Jena Malone | Rainey – Brian H. Dierker | Jan Burres – Catherine Keener | Wayne Westerberg – Vince Vaughn | Tracy – Kristen Stewart | Ron Franz – Hal Holbrook

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Tags: Adventure · Biographical · DVD · Drama · Movies

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Liz // Mar 18, 2008 at 12:14 am

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    This is a really odd and heartbreaking story. It’s good to hear that the movie does it justice; I’ll have to check it out.

  • 2 patrick // May 1, 2008 at 9:42 am

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    McCandless’s story is tragic, but on the other hand so many people have benefited from hearing it… a couple of years of hitchhiking led to his story challenging thousands (millions?) of people to reexamine their lives

  • 3 Khan // Jul 6, 2008 at 9:49 am

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    Very cool movie i think Sean Penn did a very good job.
    I am very touched by the story . and the way it was potrayed .
    Really cool

  • 4 Ajax Christiansen // Mar 29, 2010 at 2:16 pm

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    Reevaluate that which you find heroic in chris. He sacrificed everyone who cared for him to life some sort of hermit life, one which in trying to live beyond society, was painfully dependent upon society: matches, woven clothes, harvested starches (rice), focused glasses, etc. He was a fool, who died a fool’s death.

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