Sunday, April 27, 2008



Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Hayden, William Hurt, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, Hal Holbrook

"Your great adventure on Alaska"

A poignant docu-drama directed by the Sean Penn. It is based on the true story of Christopher McCandless. A drifter who abandoned all the comforts of his life to go off to his great adventure in Alaska. Only to realize way too late that 'happiness is real when shared'.

There are several school of thoughts saying that he was selfish and stupid, too caught up in his ideals, shunning away human relationships and materialistic possessions to live up his dream. While others say he was brave in pursuing his dreams by abandoning his comfort zone. I'd say it was a combination of both. He was an idealist with lofty thoughts about what drives a man to live his life. Influenced in part with having a dysfunctional family (in his eyes), he rebelled against society by taking off on his grand adventure. On the other hand, I figure it was rather foolish and too ambitious of him to venture off into the wilderness, ill prepared against the pitfalls of nature itself. A massive force to reckon with let alone try to conquer it without the necessary tools needed to survive.

The film came across as both an autobiographical about McCandless adventure as well as an ambitious propaganda glorifying one man's idea about the wilderness and life in general. Buoyed by an extensive soundtrack of songs written and sang by Eddie Vedder exclusively for the film, it has its poignant moments. It is a solid character study of a young man's quest for answers. Answers to questions which sometimes we, ordinary folks don't dare to examine lest we end up justifying our very existence.

Emile Hirsch physical deterioration is heart breaking. He projects well on screen and has an expressive face which conveys all sorts of emotions that his character went through during his adventure. He basically carries the entire film on his emancipated shoulders and true enough, he delivers it well.

Filmed in a non linear manner, the movie skips from his stint in the wild to his numerous encounters with people he meets along the way. A bit difficult to trace the exact time frame but it's pretty simple - the scenes where he is in the wilderness comes after all those personal encounters. Except for certain scenes where it appears as though the Super tramp is hallucinating on dope, the film is well made and well presented. Ably directed by the actor Sean Penn, it is an emotional and poignant film about a story that deserves to be told! But hopefully not to give people silly existential ideas about life but more as a reminder that sometimes we don't really need to venture too far off to realize that what really matters is right within our reach. Enough said!

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