when I get back from Alaska"
college, the whole world was at Christopher McCandless' (Hirsch) feet. Instead
of continuing his studies at one of America's most prestigious universities,
he decides to part with all his worldly possessions and donate the remaining
$24,000 of his college fund to charity and disappear into the wilds of the
US. Planning to make it to Alaska, Chris travels across the country living
off the land and meeting people who will help him define himself along the
way but as can he cope with the loneliness and the solitude of the wilderness.
When an actor makes
the transition to director there can be mixed results but when it comes
to one of the greatest actors of his generation making that move, we get
The acting and personal
career of Sean Penn has always made headlines. From his turbulent marriage
to Madonna to his transformation into one of the greatest method actors
working in cinema today, the Oscar winning actor commands your attention.
When Penn first stepped behind the camera in 1991 with 'The Indian Runner',
he caught the attention of critics and film fans alike. He then followed
this up in 1995 with 'The Crossing Guard', gathering together an all-star
cast with Jack Nicholson leading the line and this worked with the charismatic
actor again in 2001 for 'The Pledge'. Now with 'Into the Wild', Sean Penn
gathers together all his experience to produce a movie that will stay with
you for a very long time.
Based on the novel
by Jon Krakauer and on the real life exploits of Christopher McCandless,
Sean Penn adapts the story for the screen and creates a tale of discovery,
passion, tragedy and a showcase of the human spirit. This is a journey of
one young man's life, his passion for the wilderness of the United States
and people he meets and affects alone the way. Travelling from Emory University,
across the country by hitching, walking and even canoe, Chris stops only
when he needs money for food and this is when he gets the chance to meet
some of the people that will define his journey and make an impact on his
life. All this time away however comes at the determent of his own family
who don't know where he is or whether he is even alive.
Again Sean Penn
has gathered together a superb cast of established performers and actors
that are given the chance to shine. Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Catherine
Keener, Brian Dierker, Vince Vaughn and Hal Holbrook play the adults that
define Chris's outlook on life and his drive to push himself to Alaska.
Marcia Gay Harden and William Hurt are the parents that drove him to do
what he did after his unsettled upbringing, and the pair is driven in their
roles. Catherine Keener and Brian Dierker introduce him to the travelling,
hippy lifestyle. Vince Vaughn makes him believe in working again and becomes
almost a father figure and Hall Holbrook's amazingly touching performance
as Ron Franz, the old man who becomes Chris's friend and teaching him a
few lessons about life. Kristen Stewart continues to shine as Tracy, the
young girl who falls for Chris. The movie is all about the performance of
Emile Hirsch as Chris McCandless and it is exceptional. After making a splash
in 'The Girl Next Door' and showing his acting credentials in 'Alpha Dog'
and 'The Lords of Dogtown', Hirsch produces a defining performance of his
very young career and one that draws you into Chris's story completely.
'Into the Wild'
is a movie that will stay with you for a very long time. Beautifully shot,
fantastically played and with an outstanding acoustic soundtrack from 'Pearl
Jam' front man Eddie Vedder, this is a film that will fill you with happiness
and joy and take you on an emotional roller coaster that makes you care
what happens to this character. When you realise that this is based on a
real person's life, you will become even more attached to Chris McCandless.
What this proves is that Sean Penn is just as good a director as he is an
Presented in Widescreen
2.35:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is good
and with the film been in black and white, the movie looks fantastic.
The complete lack
of extras for 'Into the Wild' is a travesty, especially when the US version
is a double disc set filled with bonus features. Fans of the movie will
be extremely disappointed.
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