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Into The Wild
Information about Into The WildInto the Wild is a 2007 (10 years ago) American drama movie based on the 1996 (21 years ago) non-fiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer about the adventures of Christopher McCandless. It was directed by Sean Penn, who also wrote the screenplay, and stars Emile Hirsch, Jena Malone, Marcia Gay Harden, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Stewart (43 walls), William Hurt, Catherine Keener, Brian Dierker, Zach Galifianakis and Hal Holbrook. It premiered during the second edition of the Rome movie Feast. The movie premiered outside of Fairbanks, Alaska on sep. 3, 2007 (10 years ago), and the movie was issued in limited release on sep. 21, before a wide release on Oct. 19.
PlotInto the Wild recounts the life of Christopher McCandless, a real-life student-athlete at Emory University, as told by his sympathetic sister (Jena Malone as Carine McCandless). In rejection of a materialist, conventional life, and of his parents (William Hurt as Walt McCandless and Marcia Gay Harden as Billie McCandless), whom McCandless perceives as having betrayed him, McCandless destroys all of his credit cards and identification documents, donates $24,000 (nearly his entire savings) to Oxfam, and sets out on a cross-country drive in his well-used but reliable Datsun towards his ultimate goal: Alaska and, alone, to test himself and experience the wilds of nature. He does not tell his family what he is doing or where he is going and does not communicate with them thereafter, leaving them to become increasingly anxious and eventually desperate.
Along the way his automobile is caught in a flash flood and he abandons it to hitchhike after burning what remains of his dwindling cash supply. For a while he works on farms with a crew led by Wayne Westerberg (Vince Vaughn) but leaves after the farmer is arrested. He ends up at the Colorado River and when he is told that he may not go down by canoe without a license, he acquires a Perception Sundance 12 open-water kayak and, followed by the river police, paddles downriver eventually all the way into Mexico. There his kayak is lost in the river and he crosses back into America, thereafter traveling via freight train to Los Angeles.
Along his travels, he encounters and makes friends with many unconventional but good people, such as a hippy couple (Catherine Keener as Jan Burres), a farm owner (Vince Vaughn), a Danish couple, a girl at a hippy commune (Kristen Stewart (43 walls) as Tracy Tatro), and a retired but lonely leather worker (Hal Holbrook) who offers to adopt and be a grandfather to McCandless. With each meeting, McCandless has an opportunity to settle down but each time he chooses to move on in his quest for a meaning to life, believing that only in the wilds of Alaska, will true knowledge be found. He is repeatedly encouraged to contact his family but refuses to do so.
Nearly two years after leaving his family, McCandless crosses a stream in a remote area of Alaska and sets up camp in abandoned school bus, the "Magic Bus", used as a shelter for moose hunters. Initially McCandless is exhilarated by the isolation, the beauty of nature around and the thrill of living off the land as the spring thaw arrives. He hunts and gathers, and reads books, and keeps a diary of his thoughts. However life becomes harder; his supplies start to run out and although he kills a moose the meat is spoiled by flies and maggots. He realises that nature is also harsh and uncaring. Ultimately on his journey of self-discovery he concludes that true happiness is to be found in sharing, and in the joy of realisation seeks to return from the wild to his friends and family.
However, to his despair McCandless finds that the stream that he crossed has become a violent torrent and he cannot return; he is trapped by nature. He is forced to return to the Magic Bus but now as a prisoner; having previously insisted on being self-sufficient he is no longer in control of his fate and can only hope for help from the outside. As his supplies run out, he is forced to gather and eat roots and plants. He has a book to help him to distinguish edible from inedible, but he confuses similar plants and is poisoned. He slowly and painfully starves to death. In his final hours, he continues to document his process of self-realisation and his demise. Some two weeks after his death his body is found by moose hunters.
ProductionThe scenes of graduation from Emory University in the movie were shot in the fall of 2006 (11 years ago) on the front lawn of Reed College. Some of the graduation scenes were also filmed during the actual Emory University graduation on May 15, 2006 (11 years ago). The Alaska scenes depicting the area around the abandoned bus on the Stampede Trail were filmed 50 miles south of where McCandless actually died, in the tiny town of Cantwell. Filming at the actual bus would have been too remote for the technical demands of a movie shoot. The production made four separate trips to Alaska to movie during different seasons.
ReceptionInto the Wild received strong positive reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 83% of 155 reviews of the movie were positive, resulting in a "Fresh" rating. Metacritic reported the movie had an average score of 73 out of 100, based on 38 reviews.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the movie four stars out of four and described the movie as "spellbinding". Ebert wrote that Emile Hirsch gives a "hypnotic performance", saying: "It is great acting, and more than acting". Ebert said, "The movie is so good partly because it means so much, I think, to its writer-director", Sean Penn.
The American movie Institute listed the movie as one of ten AFI Movies of the Year for 2007 (10 years ago).
National Board of Review named it one of the Top Ten movies of the Year.
Into the Wild also ranks 473rd in Empire magazine's 2008 (9 years ago) list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.
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