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Into the Wild(2007)Simply Amazing

Cinematic Review


A master piece of a flim (and I am using the word film in its true definition here). The movie tracks the journey of a young man who slowly but surely detaches himself completely from society. He leaves behind the world of money, stressful careers and bills to live in the wild amongst the animals. And though the character is detached from society, the movie is not; so there are enough references and interactions with people that the audience isn’t alienated from the experience completely. The experience is stunning and the performances are amazing. A well told and well acted true story. This movie should be on everyone’s 'to see list'.


Sean Penn makes a great directing debut with 'Into the wild'. The film has a rich story filled with rich visuals and a message of humanity that makes the film a true work of art.

The plot

Chris McCandless (Emile Hirsch) comes from a wealthy family and a life style which has been smoothering him since an early age. It is only after graduating from college that he has the opporutnity to break away from the rigid structural norms of society and be free. As a result he goes on a journey across America to find himself. Along the way we are introduced to a cast of colorful characters, each which Chris is able to touch in a beneficial way (both hippie and non-hippie alike). Slowly he progresses across the desert with minimal human contact, and eventually finds himself in Alaska, truly in isolation. A great story of nature and human insight.

Reasons to see it

The direction is simply fantastic. From eliciting actor emotions to the artistic shots of nature, the film comes together as a great experience. The structure in which the story is told is really well designed. Though there are moments in which the story can seem disorganized with questionable direction choices, none of these distract from the film and are often intentional.

The story has a lot of deep messages and insights into human nature; but no matter how deep or philosphoccal they seem, they are still very accessible to a general audience. This really helps to enrich the story and the experience. Instead of having really deep concepts that only few will understand or appreciate ('The Fountain'), this film keeps you in the loop and allows you to go somewhere mentally that you may not have ventured to before. Fantastic!

The joining of the audience to The Wild is another great feat of this film. There are so many things that I didn't know or never considered would occur when outside of society. I won’t spoil any of the surprise or awe by giving examples, but the film does a great job of seeming like fantasy with a complete basis in reality. It’s almost as if you’ve been taken to another world and are watching the customs of a foreign life. Fascinating.

The Negatives

Though I really want to be cliché and say that the hippies were the only negative thing about this film; it's not true. Though I have no love for the free spirits, I have to admit that this movie really spun hippies in a different light. A light such that I respected and almost envied their way of thinking (almost). Just the fact that the movie could make hippies accessible is a feat of great proportions in itself.

One of my only gripes for the film is a scene in which they do a montage between society and the Wild. The idea is to convince us that the wild is better than society (which is already pretty flaky and cliché). My problem with this scene is that the wilderness is being compared to a run-down, poor part of a city. This is a relatively unfair comparison as pretty much anything looks better than living in the slums. But then again, I see what the director was trying to achieve and I suppose he was just staying on the safe side. The last thing he wanted to do is show a montage of the Wild contrasted to Beverly Hills, in which the audience loses interest and walks next door to see some useless movie about affluent society.

The movie is a full two hours , and if you aren’t into artsy photography, some of the scenes can seem painfully long by 1:40. But again, I really think any pain endured during this film is well worth it. By the end of the flim you will have forgotten all qualms about artsy-ness and will simply applaud.

In summary…
…This movie is a must see. The only audience I would caution against this film are children due to their terrible attention span; but as the movie is rated R (with some nudist hippies) I don’t think the warning is necessary. Now that I think about it, you may also not want to see this movie if you are overly sensitive. This movie is about the depths of humantiy and it can be a stressful trip on the emotions.
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