Sunday, October 14, 2007

Movie Review: Into the Wild

Into the Wild
CS Rating: Don't miss - especially if you've ever dreamt of giving it all away and heading off across country

This is a Sean Penn movie and knowing that you know you can count on three things: It's gonna be depressing, there will be cameo's from famous actors and it's gonna be artsy. Given that, I felt this was the most enjoyable and least pretensious of Sean's works. I didn't leave feeling so depressed and let down as I did with The Pledge.

I left this movie surprised and out of all the movies I've seen recently, it really stuck with me. Everyday since I've thought of it. It's haunted me a bit but not in a bad way.

See, I've always had that urge to drop it all, give away my slice of society and drive off into nothing. To renounce it all and head into the wilderness. This kid actually did it. He graduated college and disappeared after giving away his savings. No one knew where he was going aside form the mismatched lost souls he would encounter on his way to Alaska.

I hadn't read the book or even heard the story, hence my surprise at the conclusion which I won't spoil for you. It was heavy and profound but I never once felt like it was the pretensious nonsense I had been expecting.

The cinematography is beautiful to watch, the varied characters (some played by Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, Jenna Malone, etc) were wonderful to encounter as I'm sure it was for Christopher as he encountered them in real life and the music by Eddie Vedder fit so well that the whole movie really felt like an experience and an experience I'd not only watch again but bring my friends to. Only time will tell if holds up and if it does this will be a classic movie.

Sean makes some interesting choices and all of it worked for me. One scene even breaks the 4th wall as Emile Hirsch suddenly acknowledges the audience with a haunting omniescence that brings you deeper into Christoper's world and journey.

Hard to believe this kid's journey wasn't taking place in the 1970's but only a little over 10 years ago. Times are different now and I wouldn't expect it to be so easy to take off and lose one self as Christopher does so easily.

For some, maybe reading the book would be a better experience but I've always been a movie guy and this was a satisfying experience for me on all levels.

See Emile Hirsch as Speed in the upcoming Wachowski Brother's version of Speed Racer.

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