Into the Wild (2007) – Review

Upon graduating from Emory University in the United States, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) decides to donate his entire twenty-four-thousand-dollar savings to a charity of his choice, before hitchhiking across the vast American country to Alaska, where he plans on living alone, in the wilderness. While on this journey, the young man finds himself encountering a number of characters that help shape him as a person and his own outlook on life. A thoroughly unique and at times emotional journey, with one or two questioning moments, but overall worthy of watching.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Director: Sean Penn
Writers: Sean Penn, Jon Krakauer
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Hal Holbrook, Kristen Stewart

Nominated for two Oscars and a countless number of other awards, Into the Wild is a highly rated adventure flick, filmed across a multitude of beautiful and scenic American states, based on the true story of Chris McCandless. The story itself has somewhat divided opinion over the past few years and it’s fair to say that the movie has kept that trend alive. Some see this tale as courageous and daring, while others see it quite simply as careless and frustrating – I can safely say that I understand both sides of that argument.

With those opinions cast to one side, one thing the filmmakers managed to successfully highlight and demonstrate was the impact of human-to-human relationships and the lasting impression they can have on people throughout the journey of life – something we all experience. Whether those relationships were mostly positive or mostly negative, and whether those relationships were with family members, friends or simply people that happened to be there at any given moment, they were all explored within the one-hundred and forty-eight-minute runtime.

In terms of the cast, this was certainly one of the standout features of the picture. As previously mentioned, Emile Hirsch starred as the lead character, Chris McCandless, with William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden and Jena Malone making up the rest of the McCandless family. Elsewhere, there were also small parts for Hal Holbrook, Vince Vaughn and Kristen Stewart, who each had a large part to play. Some have criticised the fact that certain characters didn’t quite have enough depth to them, with some questions being left unanswered too, but in films of this nature, that isn’t always something necessary.

While the film boasted beautiful cinematography, a strong cast and some truly great acting performances, one other part of the film that may wrongly get overlooked, would have to be the soundtrack, written and performed primarily by Eddie Vedder. An extremely powerful and important element of the story being told, and one that any film fan should experience at least once.

All in all, Into the Wild may not have been the action-packed thrill ride that most are expectant of these days, but if you’re more sustainable to a drawn-out adventure-based drama that showcases America in a charming and unique light, then I’d certainly recommend this one. It’s also worth noting that Into the Wild is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

“You don’t need human relationships to be happy, God has placed it all around us.”

Chris McCandless – Into the Wild

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