Into the Wild – A Surprisingly Great Movie

On Saturday, while slightly hung over, Arry Ant and I were in search for a lazy movie to sober up to on Netflix. After many, many, MANY pages of options and suggestions later – we came across a film we both had never heard of before “Into the Wild” starring Emile Hirsch.

Intrigued by the synopses, (but I think more because both of us were  getting frustrated by the crap options Netflix kept suggesting) we sat down to watch the very slow-moving introduction.

The film, written and directed by Sean Penn, is a beautiful road trip story about an American hiker called Christopher Johnson McCandless who adopted the alias Alexander Supertramp and ventured to the Alaskan wilderness in April 1992 with little food and equipment, hoping to live simply for a time in solitude. Unknown to Ant or I at the time, it was based on a true story about McCandless’ ill-fated journey back in 1992.


The actual Christopher Johnson McCandless, aka Alexander Supertramp. Self-portrait on the Stampede Trail, found undeveloped in his camera after his death.

Into the Wild is amazingly produced with amazing landscapes, cinematography and storyline structure throughout. It was amazing how it spoke to me – especially as I too have been longing for some adventure for quite some time now – wishing to retreat to a simpler life.

The film was based upon a book of the same name, written by Jon Krakauer inspired greatly by journal McCandless kept describing his physical and spiritual progress as he faced the forces of nature.

In the book, Krakauer draws parallels between his own experiences and motivations and those of McCandless.

McCandless’ journal contains entries covering a total of 112 days he spent in living in an abandoned bus used as a hunting shelter and parked on an overgrown section of the trail. These entries range from ecstatic to grim with McCandless’s changing fortunes. In July, after living in the bus for three months, he decided to leave, but found the trail back blocked by the Teklanika River, which was then considerably higher and swifter than when he crossed in April.

Into the Wild addresses the issues of how to be accepted into society, and how finding yourself sometimes conflicts with being an active member in society. Most critics agree that Chris McCandless left to find some sort of enlightenment. He also tries to find his way in the wild with as little material possessions because “it made the journey more enjoyable.” His extreme risk-taking was the hubris which eventually led to his downfall.

Overall, this film was truly an inspirational yet cautionary tale about a guy who wanted an easier life. From the film, I am hoping to read the book of which it is based very soon.

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