On Screen: “Into the Wild”


Sean Penn’s film “Into the Wild” is based on the book of the same name by Jon Krakauer. Penn wrote and directed the film, which was released a few weeks ago to critical acclaim but is showing in relatively few theaters. I checked out the film on Friday. It’s a tad long (2 hours, 27 minutes) but the length is necessary to tell the tale of Christopher McCandless, the subject of Krakauer’s book, and his odyssey of self-discovery that ended in his death in the wild of Alaska.

McCandless was raised in an affluent suburb in Virginia and, after graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in 1992, he abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked his way west to Alaska. Telling people his name was “Alexander Supertramp,” McCandless left a diary, letters and two notes that told of his desperate effort to survive those four months he spent in the wilderness. In addition, he left a significant impression on those he met along the way to Alaska, and that’s all represented in the movie.

I highly recommend the book and the movie. Krakauer’s book was developed from a lengthy article he wrote for “Outside” magazine in January 1993. You can read the article here.


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