DVD - Image A Sound A Extras C+
BD - Image A+ Sound A Extras C+
starring Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Hal Holbrook
screenplay by Sean Penn, based on the novel by Jon Krakauer
directed by Sean Penn
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. Young and full of piss, Chris McCandless (Emile Hirsch, amazing) is an idealist brimming with the kinds of ideas that young men entertain fresh out of school: diploma in hand, bile in throat, knowing everything about the world that there could possibly be to know. His politics, stringently black-and-white, aren't that different from the very politics against which he'd rail; for as bleeding heart as kids can be, they tend to subscribe to the foundational belief that the United States is responsible for the welfare (and travails) of the rest of the planet, which is the basis for our self-declared status as moral policemen. In defense of Chris, whose saga has been documented in print by Jon Krakauer and now on film by Sean Penn, he doesn't presume to change the world, he only wishes to escape it--the idea of zero impact taken to its logical conclusion. But the ideal of rediscovering Eden is as illusory (naïve, retarded, you name it) as the idea that a young, educated man from a privileged background and a family who loves him could ever retreat to Walden Pond with nary a ripple to mark his submersion. Into the Wild sports as infuriating a cipher at its centre as Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man, and it's to Penn's credit that he doesn't shy away from presenting Chris as a first-class Pinko asshole living his dream with just enough hypocrisy to get him killed and not quite enough to get him saved. Prophet/fool. It's a manifestation of the smug maxim "Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains."