Thursday, April 3, 2008

Into the Wild

Episodic but absorbing road movie, based on Jon Krakauer's 1998 biography of idealistic 22-year-old Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) who abandoned his home, troubled parents (Marcia Gay Harden and William Hurt) and sister (Jena Malone) after college graduation to avoid the "poison" of civilization and get back to nature, embarking on an epic two-year road trip from Atlanta to Alaska. Actor Sean Penn directed, wrote and produced the film, which gains in emotional power as it progresses, fueled by excellent performances, including those of Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, nonactor (one of several in the cast) Brian Dierker and especially Hal Holbrook, playing colorful characters Chris encounters on his journey, with underlying themes of family connection, individualism versus community and the primal pull of the wilderness, leading toward a moving climax of forgiveness, redemption and intense spirituality. Some rough language and profanity, upper female and brief full-frontal male nudity, the killing and then cutting up of an animal carcass, a beating, implied premarital situations and reference to a bigamous relationship. A-III -- adults. (R) 2007
I am fascinated by biographical movies, (have I said that before?) so that was my main interest in this movie. It's hard to relate to the main character's reactions, but I can understand where he was coming from, (literally and figuratively!)It's sad that someone so smart, in an academic sense, was so ill-prepared for the adventure he sought. If only he had stop at REI on the way out of Atlanta... (I further discovered by my own research that if he'd only had a map of the area of Alaska he was in, the story would have been completely different...) It's sad, too, that someone seeking solitude at such costs had so many gifts to share with others and was able to touch them in such a way. The female in me kept saying, "what about his sister!?!" It is a movie that speaks to the masculine heart. (I recommend this for Dan and Mike G.) If you're interested, I'd see it; it's well made, but beware, it's long.


Dr J said...

This is a great film, and though I wouldn't imagine most people would feel this way, for me personally this was the saddest one I've seen in a long time.

Anonymous said...

I hated this movie. I thought the guy was self-absorbed and spoiled. Sorry, but that's what I feel. --Jenny Rae

e said...

Yes, I felt many unpleasant emotions toward the character; the value of the movie, as a piece of work, I looked on more kindly.