July 24, 2008

Kelly's 100 Films - # 97: Into the Wild (2007)

It's been a long while guys. I've been so busy I haven't even continued doing this so, without further adieu, here's #97 - INTO THE WILD.

Written & Directed by...Sean Penn
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Brian Dierker, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Stewart, Hal Holbrook

Synopsis: A young man leaves his middle class existence in pursuit of freedom from relationships and obligation. Giving up his home, family, all possessions but the few he carried on his back and donating all his savings to charity Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) embarks on a journey throughout America. His eventual aim is to travel into Alaska, into the wild, to spend time with nature, with 'real' existence, away from the trappings of the modern world. In the 20 months leading up to his Great Alaskan Adventure his travels lead him on a path of self-discovery, to examine and appreciate the world around him and to reflect on and heal from his troubled childhood and parents' sordid and abusive relationship. When he reaches Alaska he finds he has been insufficiently prepared for the hardships to come. Despite making it through the winter his plan is ill-judged and prepares to return home in spring, only to find the stream he crossed in the snow has become an impassable raging torrent and that he is trapped. With no means of sustaining himself adequately he eventually starves to death in his so sought after isolation. Throughout his epic journey the people he meets both influence and are influenced by the person he is and bring him to the eventual and tragic realisation that "Happiness is only real when shared".

Why It's on My List: Every possible reason. Emile Hirsch is a revelation and we are finally reminded of Catherine Keener's brilliance. Her last Oscar nod, for CAPOTE, was for a wooden cameo, a waste of her brilliance. She more than made up for herself was she always does. Also, the music was the best I have heard in years as were the songs. The cinematography and editing and direction were so raw and intense and jumbled and intense...I found it hard not to cry several times in the film. The morning Keener and newcomer Dierker (also a revelation) wake up on the beach only to find that Chris has left them is beautifully as are a few other scenes including one where Chris is talking to an apple, one where Chris attempts to leave only to find himself trapped by a raging river, and the one where he rips up his identity and hits the open road. I must admit I must have a bit of a man-crush on Hirsch (ala SEINFELD). He is just so cool and suave and so damn good-looking it makes me just wanna play football with the guy....and I couldn't possibly be more bad at football than I already am.

Awards Attention:

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Hal Holbrook)
Best Film Editing (Jay Cassidy)

***Best Original Song - "Guaranteed" (Eddie Vedder)
Best Original Score (Michael Brook, Eddie Vedder, Kaki King)

Best Actor in a Leading Role (Emile Hirsch)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Hal Holbrook)
Best Actress in Supporting Role (Catherine Keener)
Best Film Ensemble (Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Brian Dierker, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Stewart, Hal Holbrook)

Best Director (Sean Penn)

Best Adapted Script (Sean Penn)

Trailer: http://youtube.com/watch?v=2LAuzT_x8Ek

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