Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Into the Wild
The film tells the true story of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), who, upon graduation from Emory University in 1990, rejects the materialistic, conventional life he was expected to live and backpacked across North America under the alias "Alexander Supertramp", without even informing his family (William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Jena Malone). Never once writing to his family, the film focuses on the bonds and relationships he makes during his two years on the road, before finally succumbing to starvation in August 1992.
What we are offered is a very powerful emotional journey which will touch the hearts of many. The whole idea that in both the film and real life Supertramp rejected the idea of a materialistic life style is very thought provoking as we all live materialistic lives, where we are constantly buying gadgets, gizmos and vast amounts of home entertainment, and the way he rejects these things really makes you realise that they aren't everything. Each relationship and bond Supertramp made during those two years of backpacking is made in depth and emotional, and this really hits hard as you realise while you watch that the people in your lives are far more important than you give them credit for.
The most moving relationship we are shown is one made with a lonely old man called Ron Franz (Hal Holbrook), who grows so close to Supertramp he asks if he can adopt Supertramp as his grandson. The bond Hirsch and Holbrook create on screen is very deep and powerful, and the emotions shared on screen are very touching, even tear inducing when watched in the right setting.
Holbrook puts his all into creating this bond and it paid off - an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor was his reward. However, from start to finish this is Hirsch's film and it is surprising that he didn't get more recognition for it. Hirsch gives us a truly emotional performance as Supertramp making all his different feelings over what he is doing with his life perfectly stated so none of them threaten to be milked or underdeveloped; and the end of the film is stolen by his powerful performance. The pain, anguish and turmoil Supertramp goes through as he is dying are played so strong and with such raw energy and emotion. We feel the pain Hirsch conveys to us, and this will really make you want to cry as this is a character who we love from start to finish. It is even more upsetting to think that this is how Supertramp died in real life, and although we will never know what truly happened in those final days, if what we are offered is even one-tenth of the real life pain then the tragedy of it will genuinely hit hard.
Supertramp starved to death after mistaking a poisonous plant for an edible one, and being unable to reach civilisation, the poisoning made his body reject food until he died. These final scenes really make you realise that man cannot survive alone in the ideally simplistic life Supertramp tried to live and it is very thought provoking, offering a large amount of perspective.
The final tragic blow comes in the final image of the film as we see a real life photo of Supertramp two weeks before he died which was found unprocessed in his camera when his body was found two weeks on by hunters. The last photo ever taken of him provokes the thoughts of the friends and family he left behind and never got to say goodbye to, and the tears will flow.
Ultimately, this film, like Supertramp's story, is a story about how man cannot survive on his own and about just how valuable and important friends, family and good relationships are. Powerfully written and featuring a cast full of actors who give moving performances, the film is one you will never forget, and the ending is one that the box of Kleenex under your bed will never forget.
Stars: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Catherine Keener, Brian Dierker, Vince Vaughn, Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Stewart, Hal Holbrook, Thure Lindhardt, Signe Egholm Olsen.
Oscar nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Hal Holbrook), Best Editing (Jay Cassidy).