INTO THE WILD: DVD
Freshly graduated from college with a promising future ahead, 22 year-old Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) walks out of his middle class life and into the wild in search of adventure - and escape from the painful dysfunction of his parents (William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden). McCandless travels from the wheat fields of South Dakota and takes a renegade trip down the Colorado River to the non-conformists' refuge of Slab City, California, and beyond. Along the way, he encounters colorful characters at the edge of American society who shape his understanding of life and whose lives he, in turn, changes. Like lifelong hippy couple Jan (Catherine Keeler) and Rainey (Brian Dierker), and Ron (Hal Holbrook) who teaches him that happiness is only valuable if shared. In the end, he tests himself by heading alone into the wilds of the great North of Alaska, where everything he has seen and learned and felt come to a head in ways he could never expect.
Review by Louise Keller:
I don't need money; give me truth, says Emile Hirsch's Christopher McCandless, as he sets out on his journey of self discovery. The role of the rebellious adventurer intent on doing things his own way is the kind of role Sean Penn might have taken on himself twenty five years ago, but Penn makes his mark this time as screenwriter and director. It's an extraordinary story, made all the more affecting due to it being based on a true story, as described in Jon Krakauer's book. A road movie, buddy movie, coming of age story and portrait of a young man who finds the secret of happiness, Into The Wild is liberating, thought provoking and engaging.
From a handful of standard Hollywood roles such as The Girl Next Door, Hirsch embraces this role of a lifetime and displays maturity, charisma and a boyish charm as he goes from spoilt college kid to emaciated naturalist. Armed with the self-anointed name of Alex Supertramp and a grandiose plan to disappear from life's radar and that of the expectations of his bickering, materialistic parents (William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden), Chris trades his financially comfortable life for one that offers him freedom. He simply runs away. 'If you want something in life, reach out and grab it,' he tells Kristen Stewart's free-spirited Tracy, one of the people with whom he connects on his journey. He befriends Vince Vaughn's wheat farmer in South Dakota and hitching on the freeway, he meets long-haired hippies Rainey (Brian Dierker) and Jan (Catherine Keener), with whom he forms a bond. To Jan, Chris is the son she has lost, as he later becomes to Hal Holbrook's elderly widower Ron Franz, which brings some of the film's most moving moments. But life on the road is filled with challenges, some of them full blown 'tragedies', according to the diary notes that Chris makes.
Penn captures Chris' newly discovered joie de vivre as he sneaks on freight trains, rides the rapids and enjoys his solitude in his 'magic bus', his final destination in the wilds of Alaska, where nature never relents. The voice-over reflections by both Chris and his sister Carine (Jena Malone) add great poignancy, while Eddie Vedder's songs inject melancholy and reflection. Beautiful cinematography enhances the stunning locations in this moving and heart-rending tale about a young man who ventures into the wild to find his ultimate freedom.
Published March 27, 2008
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INTO THE WILD: DVD (M)
CAST: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Catherine Keener, Brian Dierker, Hal Holbrook, Kristen Stewart, Zach Galifianakis
PRODUCER: Sean Penn, Art Linson, William Pohland
DIRECTOR: Sean Penn
SCRIPT: Sean Penn (book by Jon Krakauer)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Eric Gautier
EDITOR: Jay Cassidy
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Derek R. Hill
RUNNING TIME: 148 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 29, 2007
SPECIAL FEATURES: None
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Parmounat
DVD RELEASE: March 23, 2008