Sean Penn directs his first movie in six years and knocks it out of the park. Into the Wild follows the post graduate life of Christopher McCandless, an Emory graduate that decides to give up everything he has and set off on a life of tramping around the country in an attempt to rediscover himself.
When the movie opens we find the Magic Bus in Alaska with Chris or Alex Supertramp his adopted name after leaving everything behind, who is played wonderfully by Emile Hirsch. Hirsch really dives deep into the role, is extremely likeable, and we can believe him as some one who is capable of leaving everything behind to live this life. Hirsch is full of energy and carries the movie easily by keeping us constantly engaged and entertained along his journey to the Magic Bus.
Hirsch gets some pretty good help from his supporting roles as well with his stops along the road. Catherine Keener and Brian Dierker play a hippie couple that brings perspective into Supertramps’s life, as well as returning the favor back to them.
Vince Vaughn plays a grain farmer that befriends Supertramp and becomes a pen pal and a source for some of Supertramp’s thoughts that get scrawled across the screen, a narration trick that works very well and I liked a lot.
Kristen Stewart plays young hippie teen and really lets you into her character in her limited screen time, while busting out a pretty good singing voice.
Hal Holbrook becomes an “adoptive” Grandfather of sorts and assists Supertramp with his final preparation towards Alaska.
Jena Malone shares some narration duty with Hirsh as his sister, and does it well, while William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden turn in some amazing performances as the cause of all that happens.
All of these supporting roles do a fantastic job and are all equally likeable, or not likeable, and help the movie to continue moving forward and never really dull.
The last start to mention, and not the least, is nature itself, which is captured beautifully here by Penn and his crew. There are some shots and moments that seem out of a nature doc, and Hirsch is always right up in all the action making it all the more breathtaking and never pulling you out of the moment with a moment like, ‘that’s not him.’
And I can’t give enough credit to the crew and filmakers for making such a potentially horrible subject matter, guy walking around, into a fantastic film by keeping up the pace, not wasting any of the viewers time, superb editing, and rarely leaving us wishing they showed more; just right.
A fascinating story about a fascinating person that is brilliant translated to film carried by Emile Hirsch and orchestrated by Sean Penn, definitely worth your time and money if you love nature and adventure.
I saw this movie with Kevin, and asked him to write a mini-review, so here it is,
“I’m not qualified for that. All I would say is ‘it was cool.’”
There you have it