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.
When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.
Based on a true story. After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters who shape his life. Written by
Sean Penn waited 10 years to make the film to make sure he had the approval from the McCandless family. See more »
After Chris leaves Slab City there is a Union Pacific locomotive that runs beside the highway. That locomotive has an American flag painted on the side. Union Pacific did not paint American Flags on their locomotives until the 2000s. See more »
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 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.
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