Into The Wild

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner25/10/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 140 mins

Impressively directed, beautifully written and superbly acted, this is a genuinely uplifting tale (despite its sobering conclusion) with spectacular photography throughout.

What's it all about?
Based on the book by John Krakauer, Into the Wild tells the true story of 22-year-old Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), who baffled his parents (Marcia Gay Harden and William Hurt) and sister (Jena Malone) by walking out of his privileged life, donating his $24,000 savings to charity, abandoning his car and hitch-hiking across America, eventually heading north for a solitary life in the Alaskan wilderness.

Along the way, Chris meets several interesting people, including a pair of hippies (Catherine Keener and Brian Dierker), a friendly farmer (Vince Vaughn), a topless Dane and her boyfriend (Signe Eghom Olsen and Thure Lindhardt), an underage singer (Kristen Stewart) and a lonely retired man (Hal Holbrook). Meanwhile, his family try to make sense of Chris's decision in the absence of any news from him.

The Good
Hirsch is terrific as Chris, delivering an intensely physical performance that seems to shine with an inner light. There's a kindness and an infectious sense of human curiosity to Chris that makes it easy to see why so many people took him under their wing – at least, as far as he allowed them to.

The supporting cast are equally superb, particularly Keener and Dierker, while Kristen Stewart shines as Tracy (their duet for an audience of hippies is one of many highlights). Similarly, William Hurt has a short moment towards the end of the film that is delivered without dialogue and is utterly heart-breaking.

The Great
Penn seems to have a real affinity for McCandless's story and the film's flashback-heavy structure ensures that the pace never drags, despite the lengthy running time and the fact that Chris spends a large part of the film inside his Alaskan Magic Bus. The film also makes full use of the spectacular American landscape, with stunning cinematography courtesy of Eric Gautier.

Worth seeing?
Into the Wild is a thoroughly engaging, superbly directed film about a remarkable young man, with an Oscar-worthy performance from Emile Hirsch. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Into The Wild
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Content updated: 16/12/2019 15:40

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