Into The Wild (2007)

A look at one teen's attempt to toss it all and start again is the story behind Into the Wild. While it's based on a true story, and could have been fairly compelling, it simply is not.

Emile Hirsch plays Chris McCandless, a spoiled recent college grad. His parents are buying him a new car for his college graduation, and he is going to law school in the Fall. So what does he do? He carefully lays a plan to drive cross country, and escape out West. Along the way he spends all of his money, and abandons his car. He does meet a few interesting characters, and he mooches lives off other's generosity along the way, including some hippies that grew older, but never grew up. When it all gets to be too much, he seeks out the desolation of Alaska, and makes a home in the bush of Alaska (yes, that's the term according to the one person I ever met from Alaska, who drove to NY camping out along the way on what passes for a highway "up there" that was really a gravel road, but alas I digress). He spends what's left of an Alaskan winter camping out in an abandoned bus, believing he is finally free. He then realizes that he is trapped by the river of melting snow, eats some plants he found, and succumbs to their toxicity. His family (William Hurt as his father) had searched for him in vain, but eventually some moose hunters find him dead.

For starters, the timeline of the film is just too confusing. Rather than do a simple start to finish, they insist on going between the current Alaskan camp out, and the background story of how we got there. The result is a disjointed mess, despite liberal use of the text titles that are artificially flashing across the screen incessantly. My other criticism of this film is that it drags on like a miniseries that is trying to fluff in the scenes between commercials. It's got more long pans of nature scenes than the National Geographic Channel, but in this type of film it just delays the story. Speaking of delay, Into the wild is lopsided. While half the fun may be getting there, we spend like 75% of the film on getting to Alaska, and then maybe the remaining quarter on what happens there, the more compelling part. Had we equalized it some, or at least streamlined the journey, we could have kept my interest longer.

Into the Wild, while compelling in concept, fails to execute what it started, and is too slowly paced to recommend it.

Overall Grade: C-

Reviewed by Jonas

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