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    Thursday, January 31, 2008

    Into The WIld

    Watching the movie Sean Penn honed out of Jon Krakauer’s book Into The Wild, I couldn’t help but think that they both affected me in the same way. They methodically made me care about a person nothing about then let me watch them die. Ultimately I think Penn’s ending is more specific in setting it up as an accidental poisoning than Jon Krakauer’s supposition of the same. Penn takes a more specific approach to telling McCandless’s story, allowing it unfold between his time in the “Magic” bus and his adventures that brought him there. The voice over of the sister is a nice touch that bridges both McCandless’s pre journey days with his troubled family and acts as an almost Angelic presence as he winds his way through the world seemingly looked down upon by some mad sort of grace that keeps him safe from everything but himself. Emil Hirsh does a great job delicately portraying Christopher McCandless as an ultimately wide-eyed kid intent on trying to find his place in the world. There’s no malice here, or anger, just a redirection of energy and abandon that I’d say we all one time wish we were capable of pursuing. All of the supporting cast do a fine job, but there’s something about watching Hal Holbrook that was a bit mesmerizing. I’m not sure how many people ever thought of making Jon Krakauer’s book into a movie, but I find it hard to believe anyone could have pulled it off better and more compassionately than Penn. The one thing the movie did that the book never could for me, it made the self portrait found undeveloped in McCandless’s camera a powerful portrait. Penn knows this and uses the image to great effect as a kind of punctuation to the story.

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