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'Into The Wild'

Into_the_wild_movie_poster Sean Penn’s new film Into the Wild is based on the true story and best-selling book by Jon Krakauer. The story follows Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), an Emory University graduate who decides to abandon his possessions, money, and dysfunctional family to pursue a simplistic life in the Alaskan wilderness.

Switching back and forth from past to present, Penn exposes Christopher’s encounters with colorful, emotional characters that shape his life, and vice versa. The most memorable is that of Ron Franz (Hal Holbrook), an older man living a sheltered, burdened life due to the tragic loss of his family. Franz, seeking someone to love, befriends Christopher and the two men form an emotional bond that ultimately transforms each other’s lives.

Though each character meeting is unforgettable, it is undeniably Hirsch’s performance that is memorable. Hirsch, who you may recognize from 2006’s Alpha Dog, embodies the deeply raw McCandless flawlessly. His deliverance of the character’s vehemence is so well done, that you feel that you too are part his journey.

But as good as the actor’s performances are, it is indisputably Sean Penn’s strong directorial connection with the characters that makes this his best film to date. Working alongside cinematographer Eric Gautier, the two capture the sumptuousness of the wild so well that it takes your breath away. The moments that Penn creates through Christopher and his surroundings are that of such awe, you will sure to be contemplating them even after the movie has finished.

To fully describe the emotion invoked by this film would be impossible, and to even call it a film is absurd. In to the Wild is an experience. An experience that changes your perception on what a good film should be. In my opinion this is by far the best film of 2007 and I smell an Oscar.

--Diana DiSilvestro

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