This movie was one of the most interesting that we have viewed so far. I found myself getting frustrated with our character Chris at several points in the film. I felt like the conclusion was on of resolve still because it seems Chris discovered what he was looking for; to be alone. The difference was that he was totally and completely isolated, but it may not have been what he wanted. He was pressured to leave mainly because he didn’t have a very good family life. His parents didn’t get along well and the clip where his father was abusive would make any child want to not be around home. The pressure of living a very “ambitious” life from his wealthy parents was obviously another reason that he wanted to leave. So Chris sets off looking to escape the way the world has become and find a place where nature is the only thing that’s around. I like how the director uses a lot of motion shots with lots of camera movement to show the dynamic change that takes place both in Chris and in the places around him. One thing I didn’t understand was how much Chris placed the principle of reaching nature over people. Meeting people like Ron Franz (the old guy) would have made me want to stay because of his great compassion and trust to a stranger. I even thought that he was really going to return and see Tracy Tatro (the 17 year old) with his hippie “family” because it seemed like that was the most compassion he had ever seen. It just seems all to perfect a life to return to and with the entrapment of the river, I wasn’t surprised that the thing Chris wanted most ended up keeping him there (actually caught myself saying be careful what you wish for). I definitely think this movie was an emotional appeal because it shows scenes that make us wonder what it would have been like if Chris hadn’t been able to touch all the lives of the people he met, and then was able to go back and see them again. It being a true story (and not revealed until the very end) made it an even more appeal to our senses. Did Chris find peace out there? I think he did, but unfortunately he never got to see the real reaction of his parents that was very much imprinted on his last thoughts.
After watching Penn’s film Into the Wild and reading a (mini) biography on Henry David Thoreau in Hull’s Infinite Nature (chapter 12), I am convinced that Chris McCandless was a modern-day Thoreau! Alright, get this: Thoreau abandoned everything to live a simple and frugal life in the forest. Chris (or Alexander Supertramp), abandoned his life as well to live in nature. Hull describes Thoreau as being a loner, and although I don’t know much on the REAL Chris, from the movie and from his notes he described his journey as being lonely; his only companionship being the people he encountered on his journey. In his books Walden and Walking, Thoreau explains the beauties and wonders that can be found from living a simple life and experiencing life in nature. Penn’s depiction of Chris’ life in the wild (ha!) is sort of Chris’ memoir of the same ideals that Thoreau had. Although I could go into more detail on this, if you want to see the comparisons yourself, you will have to read Thoreau and watch Into the Wild, take some notes, and see for yourself the reincarnation of one of the most influential naturalists!
Into the Wild is about a young man, Christopher McCandless, who just graduated from college. His parents want him to further his education and tell him they will help him with the cost of going to Harvard. Chris decides to go out into the wild to Alaska and leave everyone behind. He then donates all of his savings and belongings to charity.
The film follows Chris’ journey as he meets many new people. He crosses paths with a hippie couple that lives in a RV. He stays with them for a while. He also meets a girl that develops feelings for him. Chris works in a grain elevator for a man named Wayne. He also meets another couple while canoeing. Chris cares for each of these people he meets, but has to leave them to complete his final goal.
The movie appears to be a series of flashbacks that Chris is having while in Alaska. During his journey Chris gives himself a new name, Alex Supertramp. Chris eats some poisonous berries in Alaska and becomes very sick. He loses a ton of weight from not eating anything. Chris is remembering his life and is happy with how he lived. Chris then dies and the movie ends.
This movie shows how one can live a happy life in nature. The material possessions that we love so much are really not that important. Chris crossed paths with many people that he could have let into his life, but he did not need to have them to be happy. All he needed was to be one with nature to be satisfied.
Into the Wild begins with a quote from Lord Byron that speaks about nature. The quote is very fitting for the movie with the quote speaking about loving nature more than loving man. The movie then moves into a close up of a woman’s face as she springs up from her sleep, in what seems like a bad dream. She says something about seeing “him” to her husband who tries to comfort her. The movie then transitions into scenes of nature that we come to learn is in Fairbanks, Alaska as yellow words come across the screen. The words seem to be a letter to someone, as if the man is speaking to someone directly. A high camera angle shows a car pulling up into the middle of nowhere and zooms in on a man exiting the car and heading out into the wilderness. This man then finds an old, abandoned Alaskan transit bus out in the wild and decides to make a home out of it. Up until this point, the viewer has no idea what the woman has to do with the man that we are watching, but it is easy to assume that she was referring to this man when she spoke of her dream.
We find out that the woman is the mother of the man in the next part of the movie, as we see her and her husband at a college graduation. They call the name of Christopher McCandless and we see the same man from earlier, only much more clean cut and younger. We then hear this man narrating a poem to his sister as they are on their way to lunch with the family. The poem he is reading is stating that the parents should not have met and when his sister asks about it, he says that it could fit for either of them. This is a foreshadowing of what we will later learn about Christopher’s parents’ relationship.
Although his parents want him to further his education and tell him they will help him with the cost of going to Harvard Law, Chris decides he would rather go out into the wild and leave everyone behind. The viewer sees him donating all of his savings to charity, while we hear his sister narrating. His sister speaks of Chris never liking the material possessions that his parents have always had.
The movie continues through Chris’ travels, where he meets many new people. He comes upon a hippie couple that lives out of a camper and stays with them for a while. He meets a girl that develops feelings for him and works in a grain elevator for a man named Wayne. He also comes across a foreign couple while canoeing through a river and meets an old man on his last portion of his journey before going to his final destination: Alaska. Although he cares for each of these people, he leaves them each, in turn, to continue towards his final goal. The movie is a serious of flashbacks, where the real time is Chris in Alaska surviving on his own and the flashbacks are his journey up to where he is. During this journey he gives himself a new name, Alex Supertramp, and only gives this name to the people he meets. After eating some poisonous berries out in Alaska, Chris becomes very ill and can no longer eat. He becomes increasingly skinny until he gets to the point of death. The viewer sees a sign saying that he lived a happy life and he signs it with his real name. The final scene of the movie is a close up on Chris’ face as he dies and then zooms out to the surrounding area above the bus.
Into the Wild demonstrates how one can love the people around him, but still love nature more. Chris had many opportunities to stay with people he cared about (including his sister who narrates throughout the whole movie and misses him), but chooses to go out and live in the wild instead. Chris’ life demonstrates the ability to have a close relationship with nature, one that does not require destruction.
Into The Wild
There is so much to behold in nature than what meets the naked eye. One fails to see the spiritual aspects of the dirt beneath one’s feet or the sky above. Sean Penn’s 2007 film Into the Wild tells the true story of a young man who sets out on the journey of discovering nature. This film shows the beauties and wonders in a spiritual nature which seems to be masked by today’s society.
Chris McCandless, a recent college grad, has his whole life planned out for him: wanting to continue education at Harvard, having over $24,000 in savings, and even the chance to receive a new car from his parents. However, this mundane, materialistic life forces the adventurous Christ to leave everything behind in pursuit of a life in the natural environment of Alaska. Along the way, he meets and works for many people who not only influence his travels, but also his “new life” story. In this new life, Chris must learn to adapt to living in nature by collecting his own food and surviving harsh weathers and conditions. Gaining new friendships, love, and wisdom along the way, Chris’ death is not in vain. He realizes in the end that his journey’s purpose was to take him away from the world he knew into the world that he was meant to live in.
Most of Into the Wild takes places in the setting of a variety of places outdoors: Colorado Rivers, South Dakota farms, and even the borders of Mexico. Chris, who is the protagonist of the story, leaves his life at home to trek to these natural spots to live and survive on the resources around him. What becomes apparent towards the end of the film with the encounter with Ron is that the wisdom gained from his journeys allows Chris to see the natural world for what it really is: spiritually created by God. While looking down on the world with Ron, Chris tells the man that “God’s place is all around us, it is in everything and in anything we can experience. People just need to change the way they look at things”. And boy, did Chris change his perspective of the world. Throughout the movie to this point, Chris learned to live in a world with nothing but the clothes on his back and the money he gained from various jobs. His friendships and guidance along his journey allowed him to see the beauty of the spirit within people, and by living in nature he was able to see the spirit all around him. At his dying moment, he thought of what it would be like to return to his family. However, he wouldn’t have gotten the chance to die a happy death in which he became one with the spirituality of nature.
This movie directed by Sean Penn in 2007 is about the life of Christopher McCandless, a promising 22 year old college kid who decides to leave his wealthy family and his known identity trying to forget the “material world” that he was in, in order to live adventures and find the meaning of freedom and nature. The history of this character is divided into 5 chapters: his born, adolescence, adult, family and the path to wisdom.
Sean Penn achieves in this “road movie” to put us in the skin of every single character in the movie. The acting from the cast did a good job because they expressed themselves very good. Facial and body gestures made the movie seem very realistic. Emile Hirsch was capable of connecting with Chris McCandless’s soul, who was very involved in his role, to the point where sometimes we could think that she was Christopher. The movie had a lot physical and psychological “transformations.” I also thought that Hal Brook did a wonderful job with his facial expressions and how you can just interpret so many things by the gestures and faces he does.
There is also something that we need to mention about this movie. The incredible soundtrack from Eddie Vedder made the narration of the story even more interesting, catching the spectator’s attention to understand the character’s personalities, and making the movie more personal and emotional. Sean Penn wanted the vocalist of Pearl Jam to become the inner voice of the characters and he accomplished it. Along with the pure and good music, we could also enjoy the wonderful job that Eric Gautier did with his photography and filming, achieving to transmit the emotional states of the characters.
I had some questions at the end of the movie. For example, he said that he really loved his sister but he did not even say anything to her before leaving for his journey. Another question that I had is what was Chris thinking before he was going to die? Did he regret of what he did or was he happy about everything he did? It will be a mystery to interpret…