Saturday, October 08, 2011

#214: Into the Wild

There have been numerous instances of literary references being used to propel a film. And while in a few movies, such digressions seem out of place, Into The Wild absorbs all these references seamlessly into its screenplay. Sometimes used as the voice of the protagonist and sometimes to describe the beauty of nature, these quotable quotes work in sync with the storyline all the time. Based on the book of the same name, Into The Wild the movie, plays out like a poem being recited on-screen by it's various players.

It gives us a sweeping glance into the life of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) who after his graduation donates his savings towards charity and sets off on a journey to explore nature. That is to put it very mildly because his journey takes him through waterfalls, flash floods, hitchhiking, trekking and culminates after two years with a sojourn in the wild world of Alaska. Christopher aces his studies but wants to lead his life without encumbrances- material or familial and embarks on this journey with inspiration derived from his favorite literary authors, the quotes of whom we hear in Christopher's voice. Sean Penn adapts the book written by Jon Krakaeur and in the process reaches his directorial zenith with the movie. There are moments of such elegance in the opening of the film that the storytelling at times gives way to the aesthetic brilliance of the visuals put into perfection by DOP Eric Gautier. Like Castaway, there were quite a few moments where nothing really happens on-screen except that as a viewer we're placed in the mind of the protagonist and we discover the thrill of nature along with him. Eddie Vedder's soulful music meanwhile works as the perfect accompaniment on this delightful journey.

While the movie has a strong supporting cast with a host of actors floating in and out during Christopher's journey, it is Emile Hirsch with whom we form an emotional connection. His rationale seems absurd at first but as we traverse along with him, we start seeing a part of our own quest for happiness in him. Hirsch is so brilliant, I wonder if he'll ever better this performance. And yet, the best of Into the Wild is its poignant ending. Into The Wild at 148 minutes might seem a tad lengthy but the ending is what nails it. It justified everything that was leading up to it and I would've no problems sitting with it over and over again in spite of it's apparent long duration.

Into the Wild is that peach of a movie you should set aside for a Sunday afternoon when you're cursing yourself for not having done enough with your life. This might just make you spring into action.

Rating: 8.1/10

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