Into the Wild
"Into the Wild" is a beautiful experience.
Sean Penn's latest directorial effort is a masterpiece.

After he graduated from college, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska to live in the wilderness.

McCandless is the main character in the best-selling non-fiction book by Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild,"which is now a major motion picture. Directed written for the screen by Sean Penn ("Mystic River"), "Into the Wild" is a coming-of-age drama about a young man who abandons his life to start a new one.

As McCandless, Emile Hirsch ("Alpha Dog") is infatuated with the books he reads—Thoreau, London, Byron. He finds no need for possessions or money, so he gives his to needy causes or burns it. Chris is the kind of idealistic young man whose driven, industrious nature is often mistaken for arrogance.

Traumatized by his parent's failing marriage, Chris struggles to separate himself from his family- at any cost. Chris is perhaps one of most realistic characters ever to grace the big screen - and rightfully so, to be based off such an inimitable real enigma. Chris will stop at nothing to individualize himself and his values.

Chris is inconsiderate towards his family and keeps them constantly worried. He is a philosopher, and yet a bratty child. It is to Krakauer and Penn's credit (and Hirsch's exceptional performance) that this flawed character is brought to life.

When he hits the road, Chris begins making foolish, suicidal choices - anything to experience life in its most pure form. One such decision includes daring to kayak down a series of deadly rapids, which he barely survives and reaches a level of joy that borders enlightenment.

Eventually, after meeting several interesting characters that guide him on his journey, Chris achieves his goal of making it to Alaska, where he attempts to survive on his own in the wild.

This movie is stunning, breathtaking, and a million different adjectives that don't even come close to describing it. I can't speak of this film enough. It is gorgeous - every single shot is crisp and sharp, filled with awing imagery that will stir something deep within you.

The scenery consisting of mountains, plains, blue skies, lush forests and deep rivers are beautiful. Actors like Vince Vaughn, Zach Galifianakis, Catherine Keener and Hal Holbrook fill out a wonderful cast with outstanding performances. William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden are relatable and painfully real as Chris's flawed parents.

Another amazing aspect of this film is the music. A soundtrack composed completely by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder fits the film's images perfectly. You will be moved and touched in a way that few films are able to achieve.

I read Krakauer's novel a few years ago and it was an instant favorite of mine, and now to see it brought to life with Sean Penn's masterful directing is a cinematic dream I never thought would be realized.

You must see this film. Go now to the Grandin Theatre and watch this amazing movie. You will not be disappointed. It's probably the most breathtaking thing I've ever seen. If this movie doesn't pick up a handful of Oscars, there is no justice in this world.
Reviewed by: adam