Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sean Penn - "Into The Wild"

From director and screenplay writer Sean Penn, this survivalist docu-drama succeeds on most levels. Following the true story of privileged college-grad Christopher McCandless, 'Into The Wild' portrays Emile Hirsch as the young 20-something who has been preened and weaned for success in the business world. However, the young McCandless casts away his impending societal life, and all of it's shallow and greedy trappings, in favor of true Kerouac-style adventure. His goal is to reach Alaska, with no money and no contacts. A series of chance meetings with various people on his path galvanizes his goals, and upon reaching Alaska, he settles into an abandoned bus in the harsh and unforgiving wilderness, surviving without human contact or any sort of survivalist knowledge.

Suffice to say, he's not completely ready for such an experience, though his ideals are certainly admirable and he does fare well for a time. The acting is superb - Jena Malone (as McCandless's sister) narrates part of this, and the appearance by Hal Holbrook as a lonely old broken man who befriends and is inspired by McCandless's tenacity is beautiful. Hirsch himself is likeable and passionate in his role, and this one is a definite winner. The score by Michael Brook is excellent, and the songs by Eddie Vedder are fine on their own, but perhaps a wee bit overbearing at times, but maybe that's just my aversion to his voice. Anyhow, I can easily recommend this one, to be sure.


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