Hoof it Into the Wild
Based on the unbelievably true novel of the same name by Jon Krakauer, “Into the Wild” details the journey of young Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) as he “hoofs it” from his hometown in Virginia all the way to the Alaskan wilderness, and get this, he does all of this without a cell phone. Honest to God, I could hardly believe it myself.
He refuses most modern technology, which I could imagine being very difficult. I know that mountains are beautiful, but I could only enjoy them for so long without playing my Nintendo DS. All technology aside, “Into the Wild” happens to be a monumental tale that questions whether it is better live an easy life with family and friends, or is it better to rough it alone against nature.
Personally, I have found a healthy balance by walking outside daily to check the mail and staying inside for hours watching daytime soap operas with my mother. McCandless is a litter tougher to please. Emile Hirsch, nonetheless, gives an extraordinary performance that truly highlights the vulnerability of human nature. Looking into eyes, you can see the scared kid that he really is; like I said it is human nature at its best.
As good as he is though, it is difficult to enjoy just him for three hours, but luckily this years Oscar best supporting actor hopeful Hal Holbrook steps into the picture. He plays a cantankerous old man that imparts Yoda-like wisdom on young McCandless. His performance is unbelievable, especially because the man can steal the show with his limited on camera time, and because he looks to be about as old as Yoda.
Overall, acting takes a backseat to the visuals and soundtrack that this film presents. Breathtaking vistas of landscapes that seem too beautiful to be in this country combined with the sounds of Eddie Vedder make for a magical experience. This sounds crazy, but is seems like his guitar is in tune with the very ground that McCandless walks on.
It is hard to believe that a film with so many big ideas could be pulled off by director Sean Penn, but he manages to make it all work. Do not miss your chance to catch this film’s one screening this Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.