Movie Reviews: “Into the Wild”
November 18, 2007
My girlfriend has been excited about “Into the Wild” for months. For one, Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys is among our favorite films, so we’re both Emile Hirsch fans.
But she also read the book over the summer and loved it, and knowing my fondness for outdoor adventure and my fascination with the natural lifestyle advocated by Thoreau in “Walden,” she insisted that we go see the film this weekend.
What I love about the story of Chris McCandless (the man upon whom the film is based) is his willingness and drive to renounce society and travel the country. I, like many, am guilty of participating in one of those “down with the system” 4AM conversations in the dorm room, talking about government corruption and the desire for a simpler, more sincere life.
But McCandless actually went through with it. The scene where Hirsch (who plays McCandless) burns his social security card and gives away his $24,000 in savings sent chills down my spine.
And of course, his ensuing adventures are incredible. Whether he’s kayaking down raging rapids or running alongside a herd of moose in the Alaskan plain, he’s always pushing the boundaries of his environment and moving beyond the experiences with which he is familiar. And it’s all portrayed in the film alongside a surprisingly complementary soundtrack composed by Eddie Vedder.
But of course, McCandless’s philosophy of life had its flaws, and it’s heartbreaking to see how his journey ends. But “Into the Wild” is an incredible glimpse into the life of a radically minimalist individual with a passion for new experience and a drive to defy the overindulgent conventional wisdom of today.