Saturday, 25 May 2013

Into the Wild (2007)

Based on the Jon Krakauer book of the same name, Into the Wild is the true story of Chris McCandless and his desire to disconnect from society and live on his own for a while in the Alaskan wilderness.  Directed by Sean Penn and lensed by Eric Gautier, this is a truly beautiful film; there are many lingering landscape shots and they all look spectacular.  I have read the book but I can’t remember how the narrative flows, however the decision to make the film non-linear mixing Chris’ childhood with his journey, his time in Alaska and his parents’ reaction to his disappearance, works very well and prevents the story from being boring or drawn out.

Emile Hirsch is very good as Chris McCandless, injecting some humanity into a character who came across as an arrogant and pretentious twat when I read the book.  I could see where he was coming from wanting to leave society behind for a while, but I got the impression that he believed that everyone else was less of a person just because they led a normal life.  This does bubble to the surface in the film occasionally when he misses opportunities right in front of him because he is so intent on being above societal conventions.  At least he finally realises when he is alone in Alaska that happiness is only real when shared.  Emile makes the journey of discovery very easy to relate to which I think is important for the film, if he came across as an arrogant twat all of the time, we wouldn't care what happened to him, no matter how beautiful the film was.

Accompanied by a great soundtrack from Eddie Vedder (here for those with Spotify) which is suitably filled with wanderlust as well as a feeling of isolation and loneliness, Into the Wild is a very watchable film due to a fine performance from Emile Hirsch and some wonderful cinematography.  Even the supporting cast are good, most notably William Hurt, and an impressive serious role for Vince Vaughn! Of course, Kristen Stewart is as bland as always.  It’s a film that inspires you to get out there and see more of this beautiful world, and that can’t be a bad thing.  But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.