Into the Wild
“Into the Wild” is a stirring drama of comfort and conflict, supported by equally impressive cinematography, music, and performances.
Sean Penn’s variation of Jon Krakauer’s biography about Christopher McCandless eagerly pulls out the riveting flaws of both America and the late McCandless — a culture’s massive soulfulness and its insipid emptiness, a majestic land’s magnificence and danger, the ability of youth to be both impulsive and tremendously instructive.
Christopher McCandless purposely disappeared after graduating from college. He ditched his car, donated his savings to charity, burned his cash, left home without telling anyone, and tramped cross-country to a broken-down bus deep in the Alaskan wilderness.
Emile Hirsch beautifully conjures McCandless’s agile physicality and sometimes reckless passion; writing in childlike block letters and dubbing himself “Alexander Supertramp”.
McCandless’s journey included a series of meetings with hobos, dreamers, and loners, including Hal Holbrook in an unforgettable role as a man who’s lived longer alone than with family. His offer to adopt Chris is moving and true, but for Chris, acceptance is equal to vacating his wandering-spirit pursuit to obtain a rare experience.
In due course, reality eventually beat McCandless’s dreams. He is ill-prepared to live off a truly wild land. His was a naivety taken too far, but also a motivation impossible to cut short. Even in its traumatic final moments, “Wild” achieved a spiritually higher peak — the idea of ending one long, strange trip and plunging into an even greater unknown with both fear and jubilation.
RIP Chris McCandless, AKA Alexander Supertramp