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“Into the Wild” Movie Review

Hey, Frayed Wire readers! This is a review Josh made on his old site, but is now being moved here! This was originally written when the movie was in theaters.

Into the Wild is a book-to-movie adaptation that saw a limited release in the theaters. Luckily, a large enough theater to show those types of movies in my area had it showing, so I went to see it last Monday.This movie tells the true story of Chris McCandless, a depressed man who decides to venture into the Alaskan wilderness to escape his troubles. While trying to earn money in various places for his trip, Chris meets with countless travelers and nature-lovers like himself, some of them a bit crazier than others. Still, they give Chris new ideas about himself and his way of thinking. In the end however, they don’t stop his voyage to Alaska and eventually his untimely death. The movie tells of his trip and his troubles – all the reasons he decided to leave civilization.


Those troubles begin with with his parents – abusive and undevoted to one another. They lie to Chris and his sister, and mixed with the evil Chris sees in the rest of the world, his anger boils. Upon completing college, he donates his entire life savings to charity and abandons his family without telling them anything. He is fed up with the world and its culture, and hates it as a whole.

Unfortunately, Chris never really thinks things through. He ventures to Alaska with an incredibly small amount of knowledge of how to survive there (and no map), and ends up making reckless decisions, including one that kills him. Alaskans hate this story because, they say, “You’d have to be a complete idiot to die of starvation in summer 20 miles off the Park’s Highway.” Once again, if Chris brought a map with him he would have found a hand-operating tram that crossed the “impassable” river only six miles from the place he was near, Stampede Trail. Essentially, by entering Alaska so blindly, Chris committed suicide (though not intentionally).

Another thing that sets Chris a bit below other well-known and well-loved nature lovers is the fact that he was so selfish. He never once seemed to think about his family, or even his sister that had to put up with the same abuse he did. While most people would see the evil in the world and try to change it somehow, Chris thought only about how he could escape it. This guy will never be remembered as a hero or anything, that’s for sure.

Even so, Chris McCandless has quite a large fan base (despite being dead). His life was interesting enough to be adapted into a best-selling novel, which was later converted into this movie. Is Into the Wild some heart-warming story of survival against all odds and changing the world for the better? No, it’s about a depressed man who lives on the road in search of his own happiness. At least by the end of the story he was able to become happy, but it’s unfortunate that he didn’t do much to help others achieve that happiness as well.

Emile Hirsch stars as Chris, and does a great job acting. Many scenes have him alone an without anyone to talk to, but he still provides a believable character anyway. The supporting cast which includes Vince Vaughn and Jena Malone does a good job as well. The music and camera work have no major issues either.

Into the Wild isn’t one of those huge budget, big studio types of movies, and you might not be able to find it in the theaters anymore. When it arrives on DVD, don’t ignore it because it’s somewhat obscure. Granted, I wouldn’t call it a necessary movie to watch, but it does provide a deep, thought-provoking story about culture, neglection, and happiness.

Final Score: 7 out of 10

By Josh60502

  1. May 1, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    McCandless’s story is tragic, but on the other hand so many people have benefited from hearing it… a couple of years of hitchhiking led to his story challenging thousands (millions?) of people to reexamine their lives

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