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Plot: After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life. Runtime: 148 mins Release Date: 19 Oct 2007
Real American Beauty - an exceptional movie (by dinglis-2)
I've never posted a comment regarding a movie but feel compelled to after attending a screening of Into The Wild at the Toronto Film Festival last night. I won't speak to story here as it's covered in the other comments.This is a movie of real beauty. It made me cry. I felt moved in a way that happens very rarely. It was an inspiration.The feelings it evoked were all based on the power of the acting and the writing. The words were real and human. The relationships seemed real and human. This may not seem like a great feat - but I consider it a true rarity. It didn't feel <more>
calculated and artificial, like so many movies read: Crash - but I'm not here to bash that... . It was very organic, natural and I can't say it enough just beautiful. Cripes, it's making me sound like a hippie, for heaven's sake. This for me was Penn's best work since Indian Runner.What it reminded me of...Terence Malik - Herzog? - in a strange way Cassavettes? - Hal Ashby more Coming Home than Harold & Maude... - even a bit of Ken LoachRuby in Paradise - Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore - Five Easy Pieces - Easy Rider... but when I list those it's not because of plot similarities though there are some or style although I think you can definitely see the influence of some great films - it's again because of the heart of it. I heard a few people at the screening comment that the film was "too long" but I don't agree. I think exploring a journey of this magnitude required visiting all of the people he touched and taking the time to see the land.Hal Holbrook was just perfect, as was the cast as a whole, and I think Emile Hirsch is really going places - he was fantastic and he owned the role. Eddie Vedder's music worked perfectly as well - not distracting or quirky - just a part of the whole.The film received a standing ovation and quite a few tears were shed. Magic.
One of the best movies I've ever seen (by suebasko)
One of the best movies I've ever seen. Beautiful, deep, true, adventurous, sad, occasionally funny, real, at times very touching. Based on a real-life novel, it is written and directed by Sean Penn. I have always loved the movie work of Sean Penn. Congratulations and thank you to Mr. Penn on giving me a few hours of though-provoking delight. Can you say Oscar? This movie says it loud and clear! The story; Christopher McCandless, just graduated from college in the early 1990s, goes off on an adventure. He is smitten with books he readsThoreau, London, Byron. He wants no money, so he <more>
gives his to needy causes or burns it. Chris is cocky, driven, industrious. He is traumatized by his parents' bad marriage. He tries to work through his anguish. He seems determined to destroy himself just to prove that he has different values than his parents. He is inconsiderate of his family and keeps them worried about his whereabouts and safety, as if a single reassuring phone call would ruin his rebellion. He fancies himself a philosopher, but acts the petulant child. It is a great credit to the film that we see these character flaws in our hero. Off on the road, he makes a number of foolish choices and suffers from some of them. Other foolish choices, such as daring to kayak a rapid river, bring him joy. He meets a lot of people and almost all are kind to him. His interactions with people are intense, the kind you have when you are planning to run off and disappear while you are still a mysterious entity. He avoids getting too close to anyone.The movie is gorgeous. Mountains, plains, sky, rivers, animals. The acting is fantastic, totally believable. The actors are incredible and perfectly cast Catherine Keener as an aging hippie vagabond, Vince Vaughn as a wacky farmer growing who knows what, William Hurt as Chris' potbellied suburbanite dad, Marcia Gay Harden as the type of mom who breeds children who wants to run off to the wilderness to escape from her. Emile Hirsch plays Chris, and does a great job of it. When an actual photo of the real Chris McCandless comes on screen, we see that Hirsch resembles him. Original songs by Eddie Vedder give the right feel that of a well-to-do young white man heading out on a chosen adventure, getting gritty by choice. His goal is to get to Alaska, but on the way there, he hits many other states and Mexico, too.Chris is a clueless kid from the warm South. He plans to go to Alaska, yet only arrives with any needed equipment because kind folks force it upon him a machete, warm clothes, rubber boots. He's highly educated and gets good grades, yet, early on his trip, ignores a big sign that warns of flash floods. That prepares us that we are going to wince many times at his low level of common sense, while at the same time reveling in his physical strength and willingness to press on. At one point, Chris passes through Los Angeles. He is dirty, hungry, tired, and goes to a downtown mission shelter. The other men there are also dirty, hungry, and tired, but not of their own choosing. It is not their adventure, it is their life. He realizes fast that he does not want to feel categorized with men who are in dire straits due to misfortune and not due to following their own adventure. The movie shows Chris as an honorable young man. I do not want to give away any of the plot, so I'll just say the young man has principles and so does the movie.A few parts of the movie confused me. After Chris's college graduation, he meets h is parents at a restaurant. He brings with him a lovely young woman, obviously his date. Weirdly, it turns out that she is his sister! There is more confusion when Chris picks up work on a farm run by Wayne, the Vince Vaughn character. What are they growing or doing? What's up? There is an unintentionally funny scene where an old man tells Chris that he does not have time for adventures because he is too busy with leather. I thought the old guy was confessing being into whips and chaps. But no, he has a workshop where he tools leather. There were a couple spots where the editing distracted from the movie. I saw a preview; maybe it was a rough cut. There's a scene on the farm where a triple screen is used like a cheesy commercial. Another scene, where Chris is eating an apple, is a series of jump cuts, which I really liked. It seemed an homage to French auteur filmmakers. But it ends with Chris mugging at the camera. With it, Sean Penn breaks the believability and acknowledges that yes, this is just us making a movie. There is another part where Chris is in a car with the older man who is dropping him off. As they pull up, there is an inexplicable cutaway shot of what looks to be the head of a cannon. Much of the movie is like a travel montage or music video involving mountains and sky. The scenes are so beautiful. I know people that have elements of Chris in them. And I think I've met all the characters he runs into out on the road.
I read the book in 1996. Like others, it moved me profoundly. I created a series of prints of my interpretation of Chris. I haven't read the book since.This film transported me right back to the spirit that Krakauer brought to life in the book. I spent a few years traveling alone from 1994-1996. This film reminded my why I left and why I returned. Ten years later, all grown up with all the crap, I'm haunted again by Chris. What a well done job.Thank you Sean & John. You did it right.By the way, try to catch Holly Figueroa's song "Dream in Red" inspired by Into The <more>
TIFF07, review 3: Facing the blind deaf stone alone Into the Wild (by jaredmobarak)
Sean Penn's new movie Into the Wild arrives on the wave of a well-regarded novel about a college graduate who decides that the anger and violence in civilized society is too much to handle and commences a journey through nature in order to truly live life as it was meant to be. This film is a wonderful glimpse into the life of a kid, wise beyond his years, and the bonds that he creates with people along the way. A victim of excess in wealth and a shortage of love, Christopher McCandless hid inside his mind behind knowledge and philosophy, building up his intellectual strength, as well as <more>
the physical, in order to complete his trek, ultimately leading him to Alaska. Penn never falls into the trap of showing too much heartbreak on the side of McCandless's parents, because he doesn't want the audience to second-guess the decision he made. There is no debate to be had here, our protagonist has no alternative but to get out and live off the land. Only being completely self-sufficient can he grasp a meaning for his life and one day perhaps go back with that knowledge fully learned.Emile Hirsch is absolutely brilliant with his good-natured attitude and affable charm. His character believes that human contact is not necessary for happiness and never seeks out relationships. However, his character is so likable that they find him and latch on, not to change his mind, but to experience his level of being and hopefully learn something from him and help enlarge his vocabulary on life. The people he meets help him to fully grasp the decision of life in the wild and be able to survive it. Never coming off condescendingly to those he crosses paths with, Hirsch always holds a smile on his face. One scene, where he meets up with a couple of people from Europe, proves how contagious a clear outlook on life without the troubles of societal restraints can be. These three kids have a blast, if only for a few minuteswith Hirsch being chased by the police for rafting with no licenseand it makes one wonder if maybe we all should take a journey into nature and feel the freedom and full warmth of heart that a lack of stress to succeed in the business world can give.All the supporting players are magnificent at helping show the side to McCandless that Penn needs on display to succeed. Hal Holbrook, Brian Dierker, and Catherine Keener are by far the best of these side characters with Vince Vaughn and Kirsten Stewart adding some charm too. Dierker, Keener, and Stewart play hippie, flower-child type roles and allow Hirsch to show off how modest and unselfish he is. This is the family he deserved to have from birth and he is the son they wished their lives had earned them. At their best, all four together give some of the most emotionally charged moments in the film. Holbrook, on-the-other-hand, helps give insight into the philosophy that Hirsch needs to live with in order to survive the loneliness, looking him in the face, to come in Alaska. It is truly fascinating to see how every person adds something to his overall experience and to the tools he needs.Hirsch deserves a lot of credit because he truly outshines the film itself with his dedication and sacrifice to the role. The length of time needed to allow him the ability to lose the weight necessary for a main plot point in the movie is crazy. If the time wasn't that long and Hirsch did it all rapidly, I'm even more impressed. With all that, there are many instances free of dialogue that he needs to carry with body language and actions alone. True, much of this is enhanced by a wonderful soundtrack from Eddie Vedder, but evenso it is a remarkable performance. Kudos to Sean Penn for a gorgeous filming job also. He captures the countryside with grace, while infusing many moments of visual style by slow-motioning glimpses, knowing when to show the family left behind, utilizing informative and essential voice-over, and even breaking the fourth wall. When Hirsch first looks into the camera, at the audience, it does not seem unnatural in the slightest, but instead an amazing link for the viewers to take a look into his soul like those that crossed his path have. McCandless is so pure that it almost feels like glimpsing the calm protectiveness of God.
I saw this movie at an advanced screening in Nashville on August 23, 2007. Although it was a little long, it was a great movie.The movie follows an Emory grad who struggles to find the meaning of life. He travels across the country ultimately to Alaska and along the way he touches lives and becomes a man.This movie really makes a person reevaluate their priorities in life and I personally found it to be inspiring. The director did a beautiful job with the story line and the landscapes were incredible.Vince Vaughn plays a small part and is his usual lovable self. Emile Hirsch was wonderful <more>
and has a bright future in acting. One shocker was the random brief nudity of men and women.This movie is worth seeing at least once.
Sean Penn's 'Into the Wild' is a passionate and faithful evocation of Jon Krakauer's book about Chris McCandless. It's the troubling and complex story of a young idealist and seeker who was also a rebellious child and beloved brother who gave away his $24,000 savings to Oxfam after college, went off in an old Datsun and left his family behind, and disappeared for two years wandering the country, only to be found by hunters dead of poisoning and starvation in an abandoned bus in the wilds of Alaska.It's been said as a criticism of Penn's movie that it isn't as <more>
neutral about McCandless as Krakauers's book. It is true that Emile Hirsch as Chris, who called himself Alexander Supertramp on the road, is such a joyous and appealing character it's hard to focus on the arbitrariness and foolhardiness of the young man. Hirsch gives his all. He has shown his knack for playing bad good boysparticularly in 'Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys' and 'Lords of Dogtown'and for playing wild misfitsin the little seen 'The Mudge Boy.' This is the first great role he's had, and he deserves it. His work is a wonderful melding of "negative capability" and generosity. It comes naturally to him to embody exuberance, boldness, and joy. If there was something off-putting or stern in the real-life McCandless, it's not very noticeable in Hirsch. But Hirsch's enthusiasm makes sense of the great adventure and self-discovery this story recounts. Sadly, McCandless never seemed more ready to embrace life, and to overcome all his doubts about people and family, than right near his end. All the faults McCandless had and mistakes he made made are there in the story as Penn tells it; if he has altered facts and necessarily left some out , he hasn't done so to make the young man's plans seem clearer or his choices wiser, and the movie is replete with specific detail.'Into the Wild,' true, is itself a little on the wild and loud side, with its occasionally obtrusive Eddie Vedder soundtrack, it's insanely vivid characterslike the young Danish couple on the banks of the Colorado, Vince Vaughan's intense, grinning grain farmer, Hal Holbrook's fabulously sad, shut-down old widower. There is another kind of overload in the occasional use of split screens. But it all unfolds very much as Jon Krakauer's book does, with interludes at the "magic bus" where Chris met his doom constantly intercut with episodes from his travels earlier during his two wander-years. And incredible episodes they are: roaming with a warm hippie couple; illegally and hair-raisingly running the Colorado rapids in a kayak; working in the big grain elevator and loving it; riding the rails and loving that too, till he's caught and beaten; escaping a flophouse in L.A.; staying with old Mr. Franz Holbrook , learning from him how to engrave leather belts and persuading him to climb a mountain; and then off into the hostile snow country with a big back pack and sheer will. Many voiceovers from Chris's sister add more about the sibling relationship than was in the book; the family "fearlessly" cooperated in the film-making. McCandless's stern NASA honcho dad William Hurt and uptight mother Marcia Gay Harden are as unappealing as he saw them, but are not overdrawnor underrepresented. Among other things Sean Penn's film is a remarkable balancing act.It's obvious this story had to be made into a movie, and it's hard to imagine how anyone could have done it better than Penn and his fine cast. All Penn's directorial efforts have been heartfelt and earnest, but this of his films thus far is his greatest artistic success and has the widest appeal. Into the Wild is a good balance of the emotionally wrenching and the thought-provoking. It contains so many themes and poses so many questionsabout youth, about time, about responsibility. Chris isn't to be confused with Herzog's 'Grizzly Man'. He's aware of the danger of nature. It's just that he has the hubris of daring to approach it with too little knowledge and experience, knowing the risk, and taking it. And indeed he might have made it and gotten back out, but for two or three terrible mistakes. Nature is unforgiving.Chris McCandless was unforgiving too. But if he read the romantic Bible of his own life lived in those intense two years and lived to tell of them, the film suggests, he would have learned to love and forgive. He was bright, talented, passionate about life, a seeker or rare moral fervor who read and thought and recorded all that happened in those last days. His death was sadly premature. But there are signsthey're clear in Krakauer's bookthat he made an impact on the world he inhabited and the people he met. Vince Vaughan's character shouts, "You're one hell of a young man. You're one hell of a young man!" He died terribly alone. But maybe the tree that falls in the forest is heard after all. "Quant'e' bella giovanezza," goes an Italian renaissance verse, "Che si fugge tuttavia." How beautiful is youth, which flees straightaway. McCandless' story embodies those lines.'Into the Wild' seems more moving and thought-provoking than any other recent film, and may be destined to become some kind of classican 'Easy Rider', some have said, for our times. It's about society and nature, about family, about idealism and aloneness; most of all it's about the dangerous, heartbreakingly brief and beautiful romanticism of youth. In those two years, Chris McCandless lived a whole, remarkable, life. And Sean Penn has captured those two years for us.
I watched this movie on the aeroplane after searching through the movie list and not finding anything else interesting to watch. I didn't even know what the film was called until the ending credits. However, what I saw was amazing - the acting and scenery was excellent and the plot was thought provoking. More people should watch this to appreciate the message to us all. I was also surprised to see it was was actually a true story which made it even more interesting I love films that are based on true stories . It is one of the best movies i've seen that portrays the contrast between <more>
a materialistic world vs the natural world that is at the core of the universe. This is a film that can easily be overlooked but not forgotten.
Who Is Chris McCandless? A true supertramp? An obsessive, emotionally damaged egomaniac? Suicidal thrill-seeker? A Kerouac-like drifter addicted to the search for an ever-evasive truth? A high-functioning schizophrenic? The 21st century youth culture reincarnation of John Gault? Or just a kid going through a difficult time and looking for some distance to sort it all out? Sean Penn's pop-philosophical examination of this young man's voyage across America, to Alaska, and to the depths of his young soul will give you an interpretation at least. While it is not clear exactly whose <more>
interpretation we are seeing, it is very clear that Penn respects his subject and gave this film about as much thought and power as he could inject it with. And the film did remind me of something very true about the self-righteous naiveté of youth.I am not concerned at all with the accuracy of the film, and, while it is tempting to compare this film to Werner Herzog's excellent but less fictionalized "Grizzly Man", the subjects are really too widely disparate; Herzog and Penn's perspective on humanity is too different to produce a meaningful comparison. The targets of this comparison, too big and too easy. But I will make one comment about the two films - Penn's film is much more or a tribute to its protagonist than Herzog's.I found Into the Wild to be a gripping, thoughtful film. The script was good, but sometimes a bit pretentious - occasionally crossing the line between character development and character worship. Penn's direction and cinematography are masterful. The acting - every member of the cast included - is absolutely excellent.Recommended - but not for light cheerful entertainment.
I'm finding it hard to see why this film has taken such a tongue lashing or keyboard lashing by some people...mostly it is said that the main character is selfish and self indulgent, and that this film builds him up to be some kind of hero..but I think that's missing the point...through-out I was thinking about how, on one hand it was admirable that he wanted to break from the materialistic, money grabbing oppressive shackles placed on us by modern society, but on the other, how he had gone about it in such an irresponsible, hurtful and self-righteous way...the way he abandoned his <more>
parents and loving sister without a phone call note or explanation, and from the people he met along the way, like the kind old man and young romance, especially compounded this...and ultimately he realised this at the end by scribbling into a book, "happiness only real when shared" surely that is the lesson here! that his selfish, hurtful adolescent behaviour was wrong, and he ultimately paid a terrible cost.So ignore that haters...they are looking at this story the wrong way! Very much worth an open minded viewing!