Featuring extraordinary natural visuals, exceptional editing and astute direction from Sean Penn, this is a very personal film and was a shamefully overlooked masterpiece from 2007. Based on the 1996 non-fiction book by John Krakauer following the adventures of Christopher McCandless, it can be interpreted almost as a documentary. Researched and written posthumously, Chris' body and journal was discovered two weeks after his death by moose hunters. The narrative is non-linear, first jumping back to his college graduation and revealing his estrangement from his parents and his familial values and then cutting together the scenes of him sheltering in the magic bus in Alaska with those of his previous two years of adventure. A series of chapters divide the events and Carine provides voice-over commentary about his shock disappearance and the hunt for his whereabouts. In what would be for many actors, a career role, this is a staggering performance from the still young Emile Hirsch. Completely living this role and pushing his body through serious adversity, many of his emotions embody a passion and dedication beyond the craft of acting. He should have received an Oscar nomination. The score featuring lyrics and vocals from Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder also resonates strongly. Into the Wild is a powerful and inspiring tale and one of my most memorable recent film experiences.
My Rating: 5 Stars