My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Wild Thing

Just back from a screening of Sean Penn's new movie, Into the Wild. I've been waiting ages to see this true story of Christopher McCandless, an intelligent college graduate, who gave up all his possessions to journey across America with no money, and
just relied on his wits, and sometimes the kindness of strangers, to
eventually make a fateful trip to Alaska to fully bond with the stripped-down, non-materialistic world (or nature, as some call it).

Into the Wild is a problematic movie to watch, in the same way Werner Herzog's documentary Grizzly Man was. Like Herzog's protagonist Timothy Treadwell, McCandless can be infuriating, annoying, and bewildering, but also inspiring, charming and admirable. Both men, however, seemed to be on some kind of subconscious suicide mission, and, in Into the Wild especially, lots of people just sat back and let it happen. It's discomfiting, but maybe it's supposed to be.

The movie is a bit long, at times too self-regarding and is punctuated by too many voiceovers relaying McCandless' pseudo-philosophical and, at times, pure codological thoughts. But there's no denying that Penn has fashioned a thought-provoking story, that's beautifully shot, filled with a few sharp insights, and anchored by a fiercely committed and engaging central performance by young star Emile Hirsch. And just as Christopher's story is hurtling towards its shattering conclusion, up pops Hollywood old-timer Hal Holbrook as the last person Chris encounters, and for him he develops a deep affection. Holbrook's quietly devastating performance will leave you in tears - and, no doubt, will leave him with next year's Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

This isn't for everyone, but if you approach with an open mind, and stick with it despite a gut feeling that there's something not right about this guy, you'll end up being deeply moved, but why, I can't say for sure.

No comments: