I watch a lot of films. Inevitably, I watch a lot of bad films. However, every now and then, one will come along that impresses me so much that I simply cannot stop playing it over and over in my head. A film that really hits me hard. This is a rare phenomenon and I felt compelled to write about my last experience with it.
The film, “Into the Wild”, concerns a young recently graduated guy who, fed up with society and all its hypocrisies, decides to take off on his own, actually into the wild. He meets many people along his journey, with all of these events culminating with him alone in the middle of nowhere in Alaska. The film was written and shot by Sean Penn, (sometimes a little too “Hollywood Liberal” for me) who does a fantastic job. The shots of the wild north, of the glances between characters, of the writing on the screen of the man’s journal, and of the incorporation of the soundtrack into the film is something to be lauded. Eddie Vedder (frontman of Pearl Jam) wrote the majority of the songs with the film in mind, and it is safe to say that I would not be writing this had Mr. Vedder not been involved. His music and lyrics bring the movie to life and give it an isolated yet human feel. Could not have been scored better.
It is hard to say why this movie affected me in this way. Maybe it is because I sometimes feel like the main character does; sick of fake smiles and handshakes, pressures of life (both social and professional). There must be many people with these feelings, but in this film (based on a real story), our main character does something about it. Rather than adapting, he invents. Rather than tolerating, he redefines himself. Rather than living up to the expectations of his family, he creates his own.
It is truly a beautiful and touching film from start to finish. Although a tad long (almost 2.5 hrs.), the time will fly by. I was enthralled with the scenery, the characters, and the fusion of all that with the potent songwriting. I have Eddie Vedder as much to thank as I do Sean Penn. So, my friends, go “into the wild”. You may even go native.