movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

follow Sean Penn "Into the Wild"

When I read Jon Krakauer’s book “Into the Wild”, I connected to it on a level that I can’t really explain. While it is at its based a tragic story, I couldn’t help but have a certain admiration for the main character and a twinge of jealousy for the journey that he went on. When I heard that Sean Penn was adapting this book that I loved into a film I had two immediate thoughts. The first was one of envy. I had dreamed of making this film myself for years and now he was doing it. The second was one of fear. This is a personal book to me and I was afraid that he would screw it up. This is a hard story to pull off (if it could ever be done at all). Then I saw the final film…
INTO THE WILD, like the novel that it is based on, is inspired by the true story of Christopher McCandless, who after graduating Emory University with honors in 1992, decided to take a journey. He emptied his bank accounts, gave away all of his money, destroyed his identification, abandoned his car and walked away from his life as he knew it and set off across the country. He worked odd jobs, lived off the land, met a wide variety of interesting individuals, never staying in one place too long. He yearned to push past the corruption of society and money to purify his life, his ultimate goal becoming an extended stay in the wilderness of Alaska, living alone in nature. This journey lasted two years and the film is the documentation/recreation of that journey.
There is a boyish naivety that drives Chris through this story but it is this idealism that becomes infectious as you watch him. While it is easy to sit back and judge him as foolish, you find yourself being caught up in the magic of the voyage and the wonder in his eyes as he experiences the world as if for the first time. There is beauty everywhere if you open your eyes to it and that is exactly what he does. Every step of the way he finds himself in extraordinary situations or with fascinating people. Everyone that he encounters changes his perspective and his life and he theirs. But with the ultimate goal of the Alaskan wilderness calling him, he never lets himself stay and settle into a life, no matter what happens. It is this blind determination that ends in his eventual downfall.
Sean Penn adapted and directed this film and does so with a maturity and clarity that far exceeds anything in his previous films. There is love in every frame, but he never falls into the trap of idealizing McCandless or judging him. He simply presents his story and does so with care, recreating the magic of the book and the wonderment that Chris experiences at every turn. Everything seems fresh, as if Penn was able to capture the county in a way that I have never seen before on film. As example of his dedication to the film and the story, Penn spent over 7 months shooting and insisted on going to all of the actual locations that McCandless traveled to. It is by taking this time and being in the actual places that the movie is able to elevate above a “coming of age story” and become something much more.
Emile Hirsch plays McCandless in the film and if there is any justice in the film world, you will be hearing his name throughout the awards season. He is simply fantastic in the film as you watch him transform physically and emotionally. There is a subtlety and a raw nature to his performance that is rare in any film and he pulls it off without a hitch. There is energy and a charisma that he puts into his portrayal of McCandless that makes you fall in love with him again and again. There was never a point in the film where I wasn’t with him a hundred percent. He is the type of person that you want to be around and you can’t help but root for.
This is a fantastic film and easily one of the best of the year so far. Penn not only adapted the book better than I could have hoped for, he also captured the essence of the story in a way that I could never fully explain. It was a book that hit me on a personal level and now the film has done the same. INTO THE WILD is a beautiful film full of hope, love, discovery, tragedy, loss, happiness and wonderment. Through his experiences, it will make you think about family, relationships and what real happiness can mean. This is a really special film and one that I hope that everyone will take the opportunity to see.


Anonymous Movies said...

It is one of the best movies I've ever seen.I loved the movie work of Sean Penn. The movie is superb . The acting is also fantastic. Mountains, rivers, plains, sky,animals are beautiful.

9:27 PM  

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