In cinemas on 21 September
About 10 years ago, Jon Krakauer enamored me with his book “Into the Wild,” and I have been waiting every second to see who would make a film out of this. Having grown up in Atlanta, Georgia, and knowing the surrounding areas where Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsh) was living, kept me very close to the subject matter. The idea of picking up and leaving all of your worldly possessions for a life of poverty and homelessness (and ultimately, retribution) is not something Christopher’s family and friends would understand. McCandless (the son of a NASA Space shuttle designer played by WIlliam Hurt), gives the rest of his college fund to a homeless society and then hitchhikes to Alaska, soon to be found dead. The story is about leaving those preconceived notions of what you are suppose to become and finding yourself. Sean Penn has taken on the task of making a film about a journey, and choosing a life of solidarity. “Into the Wild” is beautifully shot and, above all, well-acted. Emile Hirsh, an up and comer who has not a bad film under his belt to date, completely embodies Christopher in all his quirks and beauties. The oddball characters that he picks up along the way are played by some of the greats: Vince Vaughn and Catherine Keener, which give more understanding to McCandless than his family could have ever done. Even though the landscape and casting elements of the film give it a very strong life and closeness to the real McCandless, it becomes a bit disjointed. The beautiful music by Eddie Vedder stands strong on its own, but in context of the film, leaves a hole. Penn captures the character but loses some of the strength in this 2 hour and 20 minute film, but you still walk away with an incredible story that you just can’t shake.