|Emile Hirsch sits on the roof of an abandoned bus in Alaska and ponders existence on this serene poster for Sean Penn's Into the Wild|
Into the Wild is the true story of Christopher McCandless, who as a young man in May 1990 breaks radically with his parents' suburban life and cuts himself off from everything and every one he knows to go on an American adventure as a 'Alexander Supertramp.'
Into the Wild is the 4th feature written and directed by Californian master filmmaker Sean Penn (The Crossing Guard (1995)), based on the same-titled 1996 nonfiction book of McCandless' life and journey by Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air (1997)).
Rarely does a film touch people the way that Into the Wild does, and certainly does touch me when I watch it. It gets to you like a sharp, pointed arrow with a vivacity, a fullness of life, a formidable drive and a devastating but also enormously beautiful end. This film is an absolute masterpiece.
Emile Hirsch (Killer Joe (2011)) is a star and a generational hero for his towering performance here, and his scenes with Hal Holbrook (Innocent Victims (1996, TV movie)) are among the most moving that I can recollect ever seeing in a motion picture.
The music in the film, made up of monumental, howling, acoustic and beautiful songs by Eddie Vedder (The Namesake (2006), song) and a strong score by Michael Brook (The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)) and Kaki King (How I Got Lost (2009)), is forceful, as are the exceptional cinematography by Eric Gautier (Clean (2004)). Into the Wild is a visual cornucopia of the majestic sights in America's Godly nature.
As a film about a young radical idealist and explorer, Into the Wild is out of this world, and with the release of this masterpiece and his outstanding performance in Gus Van Sant's masterpiece Milk (2008), Penn touched a height in movies that is only granted to very few certified greats.
Sean Penn: Gangster Squad (2013) or, Good Men vs. Bad Men! (actor)
This Must Be the Place (2011) - Sorrentino's Nazi-hunting stoner cracker (actor)
The Tree of Life (2011) or, Mother, Father, Sharks, Dinosaurs, My Brothers, Sunflowers, the Desert, the Wind and Me (actor)
Fair Game (2010) or, The Intelligence War (actor)
21 Grams (2003) or, Hardcore Life (actor)
The Pledge (2001) - Maddening, realistic, unpleasant child-killer story (director)
The Crossing Guard (1995) - Penn's great, downbeat Jack Nicholson-starring drama thriller (writer/co-producer/director)
Carlito's Way (1993) - De Palma's best gangster movie (actor)
Watch a trailer for the film here
Cost: Estimated 15 mil. $
Box office: 56.2 mil. $
= Big hit (3.74 times the cost)
[Into the Wild premiered 1 September (Telluride Film Festival, Colorado, USA) and runs 148 minutes. Shooting took place in Washington, including Seattle, Oregon, including Portland, Arizona, Alaska, South Dakota, California, Atlanta, Georgia, Nevada and in Mexico from April - November 2006. SPOILER The final bus section of the film was shot in Alaska about 50 miles (80 km) from the actual site, using a replica of the real bus. The film opened #33 to a 212k $ first weekend in 4 theaters, a huge 53k $ cinema average, and widened to peak at #14 and in 660 cinemas in North America, where it grossed 18.3 mil. $ (32.6 % of the total gross). The 2nd and 3rd biggest markets were France with 13.5 mil. $ (24 %) and Italy with 8 mil. $ (14.2 %). The film was nominated for 2 Oscars: Best Supporting Actor (Holbrook), lost to Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men, and Best Editing, lost to The Bourne Ultimatum. The film won 1/2 Golden Globe nominations, an AFI award, was nominated for a César award and a David di Donatello award, a Grammy, won two National Board ow Review awards and many other honors. Roger Ebert gave the film a 4/4 star review, equal to its rating here. It is currently #181 on IMDb's user-generated Top 250 list, sitting between Wild Tales (2014) and Life of Brian (1979). Penn as filmmaker returned with the ridiculed The Last Face (2016). Hirsch returned in Speed Racer (2008). Into the Wild is certified fresh at 82 % with a 7.5/10 critical average at Rotten Tomatoes.]
What do you think of Into the Wild?