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Into The Wild: An Unbelonged Life Tuesday, 23 February, 2010

Posted by ~uh~™ in Hollywood.
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[ Caution: A serious post, no humour this time ]

Originally posted on PFC [link].

There's a pleasure in the pathless woods....

”There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.”

~Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

Some movies can be felt and written about. Then, there are some movies which can be felt but difficult to write about. They seep into us, slowly get inside the veins and touches the heart. Watching the movie then becomes an experience, like meditation or hypnotism. A strong emotional bonding forms with the characters (not necessarily limited to humans) and we get involved.

Into the Wild by Sean Penn (Screenplay and Direction) happened to be one of such movies. It’s based on a true story which was published as a book by the same title written by Jon Krakauer. Many questions came to my mind, which the movie compelled me to think about. Like all fundamental questions of life and truth, it would probably take a lifetime for me, to fathom the right answer. So, I won’t even try. But Into the Wild is undoubtedly one of the most passionately made movies I have ever seen, which while surpassing cinematic excellence, stays in the heart, forever.

If you are a serious cinema lover and you have not seen Into the Wild, if you are missing something. Add it to your bucket list now.

‘In this world I can’t be me.’

Is that what Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) thought before ending his journey at Alaska, while the thin misty wind mildly caressed the snowflakes dropping from the tree leaves and the golden dusk dissolved in the frozen lake at the horizon ?

Is happiness ought to be a macaristic outcome of human relationships? Or is it the pristine waterfall, wandering green meadows and snow capped mountains, which can provide a solace, so solemn and satisfying that an unholy past can burn to ashes ?

Was the ecdemomaniac Alexander Supertramp, an adventurer naturalist soul or an escapist coward? Was the influence of Davies, Jack London, Tolstoy and Thoreau so strong, that a academically superior youth completely redirects himself onto a different journey of life ? Was it the Call of the Wild or repulsion from the society ?

Born with an affluent parentage but a disturbed childhood makes McCandless forisfamiliate and leave his credit cards behind, donate his entire bank savings to charity and burn the rest of his cash to start a journey as Alexander Supertramp. The hitchhiked, unplanned and narcohypnic journey which ends at Alaska, the destination of his dream. The movie is about the journey. The movie is a about a man’s quest to find the answer to the fundamental question about life, truth and happiness.

Alex is the acataleptic nomad who wanted to find the truth of God, of happiness and redemption. He wanted to undo all the strings, detach from all the bonds he was born with. Because of his dad’s autocratic living or the domestic violence, which Alex had to witness as a child, it only added to his strength of determination. The flash flood of his thoughts allowed him to abandon all his paideia like the sixth wheel of old Datson.

Money isn’t happiness. Relationships are not essential to live. People met in the journey of life, are like colorful milestones, to stop and cross by. Was this understood the aged kinless widower (Hal Holbrook) who sheds a drop of tear to adopt Alex as his grandchild? Or by the teenager girl in the gypsy camp who offered her solemn virginity for paizogony ? Or the hippie couple who rediscovered themselves through Alex but never could hold him back, the tramp. The tramp always left everything behind.

This movie is not racy like other wild adventure movies, but a slow and sublime narrative, visually stunning. A sense of serenity and peace engulfs the mind of a viewer while the camera pans the snowy mountains, golden sunrays sneaking into the fjord or wind blowing over a wheat field and then to submerge in immense pain, knowing it was for real, it is a true story. The abandoned ‘magic bus’, the solo boat ride on the rapids, the hunting games are mosaic of a beautiful mural of Christopher McCandless’s life, as he chose it to be. The deep rooted sericate sorrow on the voice of his sister behind the narration can be felt in each close up of the lettering that zooms in on the screen. Sean Penn as a director does poetic justice to Jon Krakauer’s book and pays an apt homage to the spirit of freedom. Emile Hirsch as the supertramp is like the brush on the hands of Penn, by which paints the picture on nature’s beautiful canvas. In fact, at one point in the movie actor Hirsch and character McCandless merge seamlessly and it is impossible to believe that it’s ‘acting’. The performance of Hal Holbrook as an aged lonely man, would probably make a stone statue weep.

Into the Wild is sensual, hypnotic and mesmerizing. Sean Penn made this movie with a heart and his passion could be vividly felt. Penn has successfully provoked the audience to confront an inner philosophical debate within their own self-existence. That’s what a good cinema does. It makes us think, it makes us smile, it makes us weep inside and it makes us ‘feel good’ sad.

The movie should be watched with the mind set free, for a moment , from plastic cards, ATM machines and the internet, to think about the choice which life gives us, either to succumb to a life of responsibilities and mundane chores, bonhomie and social bondage or simply to a habromanic surrender ………………into the wild.

‘Happiness is best when shared with everyone ‘.
Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.

The supertramp in us is dead. Long live the supertramp.

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Comments»

1. Miss Cellany - Wednesday, 24 February, 2010

A very different post from you. Liked the flow, not that the content was bad, but there are other people to say that.

And definitely, Into the Wild is one of the best movies and you get involved while watching it. Very passionately made movie as you said, and so is the review by you.
…………………………………………………………………………..
~uh~™ : It seems you have been a regular and a silent follower of my blog. Thanks for the comment, I appreciate.

2. Cherish - Wednesday, 24 February, 2010

One thing..you missed…music by Eddie Vedder….

one which will never leave my ipod and car… it haunts you..makes you think…takes you to the state the protagonist is in…

Wonderful write up… keep writing…
…………………………………………………………………………..
~uh~™ : Yes I missed it. Thanks for mentioning the music- Hard Sun & Society is my favourite too.

3. abhishek - Saturday, 27 February, 2010

Yes, hard to believe its the same guy who was in ‘The girl next door’. Well, right now I am satisfied with internet, plastic cards and dominos. 😛
Going for the search of life and truth…nah! who has time for it when you have facebook and farmville. 😀
…………………………………………………………………………..
~uh~™ : 🙂 poor Alex, am sure he never ran Into The Wild, if he had a facebook account….

4. naren - Sunday, 7 March, 2010

Superb review. I haven’t seen the film but I will. Enjoyed that.
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~uh~™ : Unfortunately the movie is not released in India and available only with ‘other sources’…..

5. Raja - Thursday, 25 March, 2010

Uh …. that’s a real nice review about a real nice movie.

On a narrower note, talking ’bout cinematography, have you seen ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’?
…………………………………………………………………………..
~uh~™ : yeah I did. But talking about cinematorgraphy I have seen nothing like what Zhao Xiaoding does e.g. House of Flying Daggers.

6. Wealth, Dishonesty, and Legal Intimidation « Comins v. VanVoorhis - Friday, 28 May, 2010

[…] on by Christopher McCandless, and then re-popularized by Emile Hirsch’s portrayal of him in Into the Wild: “Rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness… give me […]

7. The Fallacy of Unwarranted Extrapolation « - Tuesday, 25 September, 2012

[…] Henry David Thoreau quote, later expanded upon by Christopher McCandless, and made famous again by Emile Hirsch’s portrayal of him in Into the Wild: Rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness… give me […]


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