Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Jiffest 2007: Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild. Film review. I've heard nothing but great things about this film way before the festival. Be it the praise for Sean Penn or for the overall of the film itself, it was ever hung in there, ever present. And with all those praises, this film might well be one of the best film in an already very very good year of film.

However, i proceed into the film with cautious manner. Because even if it had already harvested many praises from critics and general viewers alike, based from what i read of the synopsis of the film, it was a rather straight-forward road trip to adolescence. A young boy gets fed up with life and decides to leave everything behind, into the wilderness solitude to look deeper into the meaning of life. And Sean Penn hasn't been giving anything worthy to remember in the acting department (his last film that i saw, All the King's Men, left me embarassed with his acting) for a couple of years.

Based on a true story, young Christopher McCandless - the link may contain spoiler to the film - never liked his life. He felt that going into college was more of an obligation to his parents rathern than a choice. Therefore, when he had completed his college, he donates all his saving (a hefty sum of 24,000 dollars) and left his family and all life he has known to escape, escape Into the Wild, so to speak. I had guessed that somehow in the road, he met with someone old enough to be his grandparent that later shares his wisdom and shares his belief. Therefore, i hadn't expected anything much. I was wrong though, he did met someone old enough to be his grandparent. But he was only one of many new people he met in the road and each of them had in a way shared their belief and wisdom to young and angry Chris. I was drawn into the film, and blown that i trickled a tear at the end and even went as far as giving the film a standing ovation - which looks stupid, by the way, since i had seen the film alone.

The film ran long. 140 minutes. But it sucks me in, and ever growing into me, magnified by beautiful landscapes that looks more like a spawn from an episode of National Geographic. Chris had decided to go to Alaska where he found an abandoned bus - which he later called, 'magic bus' - in the middle of nowhere. While he enjoyed his freedom and trying to survive in the wilderness, he recounts the events that had happened for two years after he graduates, ran away, and found the 'magic bus'.

I'm not entirely approve of Chris' decision to ran away from his parents after he has fulfilled his 'duty' by graduating the college (an egoistic point of view, if you asked me). However, i had not also entirely approve or sympathize with the parents. For me, it's like a tug-of-war between the two. And i couldn't decide whence my sympathy lies even after the film had ended.

Further, i think that Chris had undergone a journey we all ought to take, and probably, unconsciously had been doing for all of our life. A journey to seek for a purpose, and further a happiness. Chris' last inscribe in the film (which quite probably could easily become one of the most memorable quote from the film) had implicitly said that he had done so and had finally found his.

Into the Wild was also richly casted. Led by Emile Hirsch who drove Chris' character greatly and superbly, his growing emotions (and physically reformation from a cutish boy to a grown haggard man in a matter of 140 minutes) were clearly shown. Catherine Keener was lovely, as always. And Vince Vaughn, man, i love this guy! Who wouldn't? A talented comedian who never overdid himself (*cough*Jim*cough*Carrey). And Hal Holbrook who was giving the warmest performance in the film. But most of all, since quite probably that 70% of the film relies on Hirsch's shoulder, all the attentions would be deservedly went into his direction. I'm not surprised if he gets nominated in acting at the awards. Although of course, i'm also in a firm opinion that should anyone get recognized for their acting, it should've gone to Hal Holbrook.

I could see how the film garnered good reviews all over the world. Because simply, it is a great film. Combining the youth in search of adolescence genre and a road trip genre, the film doesn't think of itself too importantly, and Sean Penn manages to balanced things between the two, weaving a story that creeps and grows into you, and since i'm eligible to call myself a youth, i would say that as a youth, this film sparked my dull thought. As if with watching this film, i found a long lost buddy whom i called 'passion'. Yet another possible entry to my list of best film in 2007. Well well, this year really is had been a very good year in film.

I went immediately to see A Mighty Heart (with Angelina Jolie after seeing this film. And probably because of the length of this film and how i'd reacted to it, the film (A Mighty Heart) might not deserved my review. Because some of the guy i know i loved it, yet, i found almost no love toward it.

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