Into the Wild
  • Into the Wild
  • Into the Wild

Into the Wild

4.5 42
Director: Sean Penn

Cast: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt

     
 

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Into the Wild is writer/director Sean Penn's adaptation of the popular book by Jon Krakauer, a nonfiction account of the post-collegiate wanderings of a young Virginia man, who divorces himself from his friends, family, and possessions in search of a greater spiritual knowledge and communion with nature. Upon his 1990 graduation from Emory University in AtlantaSee more details below

Overview

Into the Wild is writer/director Sean Penn's adaptation of the popular book by Jon Krakauer, a nonfiction account of the post-collegiate wanderings of a young Virginia man, who divorces himself from his friends, family, and possessions in search of a greater spiritual knowledge and communion with nature. Upon his 1990 graduation from Emory University in Atlanta, Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) walks away from a loving if dysfunctional family and sends his nearly 25,000-dollar life savings to Oxfam International. Instead of the normal life his parents planned for him, Chris rechristens himself "Alexander Supertramp" and heads west in his beaten-up automobile until it no longer runs, at which point he takes up hitchhiking. The goal on the horizon? Alaska. By hook or by crook -- but without his limited cash, which he symbolically sets aflame -- Chris/Alexander determines to make it to his personal promised land, with stops along the way to experience America and its people. These adventures include a kayak trip down dangerous rapids, a gig working in a grain mill, extended stays with a hippie couple and a kindly old widower -- and enough cold, hunger, and exhaustion to leave him emotionally defeated more than once. Meanwhile, his parents (William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden) and sister (Jena Malone) haven't received so much as a postcard from him, and begin to fear the worst. Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder composed the contemplative soundtrack.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
In Christopher McCandless, director Sean Penn has found a character that speaks to his own quest to find meaning in life. Instead of focusing on characters that are spiritually dead, as he did in his first three films, Penn gets to tell the story of a young man who is absolutely spiritually alive, and this spurs Penn the director onto a level of empathy equal to that of Penn the actor. One need not share McCandless' goals in order to appreciate Penn's movie -- this film is far from an endorsement to throw off the conventions of society and live off the land. The screenplay offers numerous reasons other than a romantic desire to lead a Thoreau-inspired life for McCandless to set off on his journey. There are painful psychological scars driving him, as well as an honest if occasionally petulant need simply to do what isn't expected of him. Emile Hirsch, the young actor playing McCandless, embodies all of these conflicting but powerful motivations in a performance that never once rings false. Hirsch succeeds grandly in the first rule of modern film acting -- he doesn't "act," he simply "is." The actor is so present in the part that the audience easily accepts how he changes the lives of those he meets during his journey. Catherine Keener delivers yet another vivid performance as Jan, a fellow tramp who, with her husband, Rainey (Brian Dierker), provides the model for the ideal family Chris never had growing up. Keener and Dierker, in an outstanding movie debut, suggest the deep history between them in little more than loving if occasionally pained looks. These people have the emotions that Chris wants to feel -- even if he does not realize that is what he wants until the end of the movie. The story is structured in five acts, and at the end of each act Penn breaks typical movie convention and has McCandless look directly into the camera. The first time this happens it seems like a boneheaded choice -- as if the director didn't trust his audience enough to love the character on our own. But as these moments accumulate, one realizes that those looks into the camera aren't about gaining sympathy, but are about sharing intimacy. We are moved and affected by Chris' journey, just as the other characters in the film have been. When Chris learns his final lessons in Alaska, when he finally discovers the truth that he himself has been looking for, the film has the weight of Greek tragedy. But instead of devastation, one leaves the movie with a sense of exhilaration -- the sense of a life well-lived. With this film, Penn, who always seemed like an old soul trapped in a young man's body, shows that he has matured. Into the Wild is a grandly successful statement of purpose both as an artist and as a person.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/04/2008
UPC:
0097363481249
Original Release:
2007
Rating:
R
Source:
Paramount
Region Code:
1
Time:
2:28:00

Special Features

Closed Caption

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Emile Hirsch Christopher McCandless
Marcia Gay Harden Billie McCandless
William Hurt Walt McCandless
Jena Malone Carine McCandless
Catherine Keener Jan Burres
Brian Dierker Rainey
Vince Vaughn Wayne Westerberger
Zach Galifianakis Kevin
Kristen Stewart Tracy
Hal Holbrook Ron Franz

Technical Credits
Sean Penn Director,Producer,Screenwriter
David Blocker Executive Producer
Michael Brook Score Composer
Jay Lash Cassidy Editor
Éric Gautier Cinematographer
Mary Claire Hannan Costumes/Costume Designer
Martin Hernandez Sound/Sound Designer
Frank Hildebrand Executive Producer
Derek R. Hill Production Designer
David J. Webb Asst. Director
John Kelly Executive Producer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Kaki King Score Composer
Art Linson Producer
Francine Maisler Casting
William Pohlad Producer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Into the Wild
1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4
5. Chapter 5
6. Chapter 6
7. Chapter 7
8. Chapter 8
9. Chapter 9
10. Chapter 10
11. Chapter 11
12. Chapter 12
13. Chapter 13
14. Chapter 14
15. Chapter 15
16. Chapter 16
17. Chapter 17

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