This is the true story of a personable, bright young man (Christopher McCandless, played by Emile Hirsch) who starved to death in his wilderness camp in Alaska. The screenplay, written by Sean Penn (who also directed) is based on a best-selling book by Jon Krakauer.
McCandless was troubled by family issues. He donated his life savings to charity, and dropped out of sight after graduating from Emory University. He drifted across the country, a virtual hobo, making friends and leaving them behind. With little apparent outdoor experience, he planned to go to Alaska and live off the land. He seems to have seen himself as a Rousseau or a Henry David Thoreau. But Alaska is no Walden Pond.
I was somewhat reminded of Easy Rider.
The soundtrack is by Eddie Vedder. Detracts from the film.
So did the two bozos who sat behind us. “Oh, my god!” was uttered 10 or 15 times, with various other mindless chatter. Don’t talk in the movies, people, and don’t sing along with the music.
The film is comprised of several “chapters” (a bad idea) and multiple flashbacks (which work quite well. The narrator is the sister. The supporting cast is superb, though I could have done without the tame grizzly bear. The cinematography was very good, and of course the Alaskan scenery is beautiful.
I rate this movie a 3.5 out of 4. I think it is an important film. It is very long, though I wasn’t bored, and I can’t think of anything that could be left out. The terminal scenes are awkward and not up the standard of the rest of the film.
I will probably get the book. I am a fan of the genre and of Krakauer.