Franz Patrick's Movie Review of Into the Wild

Rating of

Into the Wild

One of the Most Introspective Films of 2007
Franz Patrick - wrote on 05/11/08

The only regret I have is not catching this film in theaters. If I had, this easily would have been on my Top 10 Films of 2007 list. I would like to start off by giving kudos to Emile Hirsch for his completely captivating performance. He won me over just a few months ago in "The Mudge Boy" and I cannot believe this is the same guy from the fun yet sophomoric "The Girl Next Door." I've seen all of his films and this is his most mature film to date, alongside "Imaginary Heroes" and "Alpha Dog." He's definitely someone that everyone needs to watch out for because he's building quite a repertoire. He's got "Speed Racer" and "Milk" coming up; the latter I have high expectations for now that he's proven himself as a serious actor. In this film, he has completely embraced his character, not just psychologically but physically as well, to the point where I started asking, "How the hell did he pull that off?!" I love that the film is not just about one thing; it's not just about Christopher McCandless, or family dynamics, or the people one meets on the road, or the life lessons learned (or not learned). It's about all of those elements combined which made it reach a completely new, raw and captivating level. My favourite scenes are with Hal Holbrook because everything felt sadder, happier yet heavier, and lighter at the same time (he deserves the Oscar nomination). There was that one scene when Hirsch and Holbrook sat on this hill and Holbrook says, "When you forgive, you love. And when you love, God's light shines upon you." And suddenly the clouds parted and the sunlight fell upon them. I'm not a religious person but that really got to me though I don't know exactly why... or for way too many reasons. For me, it's not about a sign that God or a higher power exists--it's more about the message of what was said and what was left unsaid between the characters, between the landscapes and those that live in and on them, between the film and the audience. I understand that a lot of people decided to shy away from this picture because of its two-and-a-half hour running time. Some of my friends did and I admit that I was really annoyed by that. (Which proves this is not for everyone.) I mean, if one can spend three hours doing absolutely nothing, why not take a risk at something that could potentially enhance one's way of thinking? But there's no hard feelings because, in a way, it made it that much more special since someone did stick with me and by the time the movie ended, I felt emotionally richer. The movie also had an underlying message regarding people that choose to stick by you no matter what, whether you've known them for a long time or not. I feel like this movie is about pretty much everything and it felt so right and down-to-earth. I am so glad to have had the honor of watching this film. Sean Penn is a great director and I'll be looking forward to his future directing endeavors. "Into the Wild" reminded me and redefined my reason for falling in love with motion pictures.

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