Joe Movie - Into the Wild

Category:  BloggERy
Thursday, May 31st, 2012 at 8:10 PM
Joe Movie - Into the Wild by Joe Chiodo

Into the Wild (2007) (R)

Check out the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taFaFEuwHLQ

It should not be denied that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations. Absolute freedom. And the road has always led west”. – Christopher Johnson McCandless 

In May of 1990, McCandless abandoned his 22-year-old suburbanite life in Annandale, Va. with the ambitious plan of traveling to the unspoiled wilderness of Alaska.   Throughout his time as a student at Emory University in Atlanta, McCandless developed a strong desire to escape the materialistic society he found himself in, hoping to find peace in the wild. 

With little knowledge of outdoors survival, McCandless donated his entire life savings to Oxfam International, destroyed all forms of identification, and hit the road.  North – to Alaska.

McCandless kept a meticulous journal account of his travels, including descriptions of kayaking along the Colorado River and hitchhiking over 3,000 miles to eventually living out the remainder of his life in an abandoned bus near the Denali National Park. 

For just over three months, McCandless lived off of a 10-pound bag of rice, local plant life, and small game he hunted with a .22 rifle in Alaska.  His spiritual and physical evolution was documented in over 100 pages of journal entries depict his adventure.

“Into the Wild” tells the incredible tale of McCandless’ great Alaskan adventure.  Directed by Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Sean Penn and staring Critic’s Choice Award winner Emile Hirsch, who plays Christopher McCandless. 

The combination of the fantastical Sean Penn and upcoming star Emile Hirsch is amplified by the heart wrenching true story of McCandless, set to a veracious soundtrack performed by Eddie Vedder that fits “Into the Wild” altogether.

“Into the Wild” is filmed in beautiful locations that McCandless ventured through during his Alaskan odyssey; including Arizona, South Dakota, the Sea of Cortez, and, of course, Alaska.  Watching Hirsch travel through these stunning wildernesses set to original music by Vedder is entrancing to say the least.  For the entire 148 minutes of the film, not a single scene is anything but gorgeous.

Hirsch’s portrayal of McCandless is very powerful, going so far as to drop 41 pounds to accurately represent McCandless as he faced extreme hunger during his adventure.

Being the only person on screen for most of “Into the Wild” would prove challenging to most actors, but not to 22-year-old Hirsch.  There isn’t any point during the movie where you become sick of watching him; his emotional acting is too compelling not to watch. 

Hirsch’s performance seems so incredibly truthful to McCandless, “Into the Wild” feels shockingly realistic.  As the weeks continue, Hirsch’s facial hair and weight adjust accordingly, making the film look more like a documentary, following the real McCandless as he traverses rivers and climbs mountains, searching for his true self in the Alaskan wilderness.

Joe Movie rating: 4.5 / 5

The Good:

-       Hirsch’s best performance to date. 

-       Amazing soundtrack by Eddie Vedder.

-       Locations filmed are awe-inspiring.

-       Touching and inspiring true story.

The Bad:

-       Lengthy (148 min.)

-       Slower pace than your traditional adventure film.

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