Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Into The Wild


Movies based on true stories always have more of an impact on us. Whether its admiration, revulsion or any other emotion we feel for the movie's characters, they are more pronounced when we know that those characters exist(or existed) in the real world. Into the Wild is tautly paced, gorgeously filmed and well-acted but its the knowledge that it is based on a true story that makes it truly effective. One of 2007's best films, it is a poignant and powerful film about a brave and interesting individual.

Into the Wild documents the story of Chris McCandless(played by Emile Hirsch), who, after graduating from college, donated his college fund to charity and set off to Alaska, intending to live his life in the state's wilderness. The film lays out his life in two tracks interspersed with one another. In one we see Emile in Alaska, adapting to life in the wild while in the other, we see the journey that took him to Alaska. The contrast between these two tracks is enhanced by this technique. While he is surrounded by people - first his family and then all the people he meets on the way - during the journey, he is cut off from life once he reaches the Alaskan wilderness and is completely on his own. As we see scenes from both stages of his life, the contrast between them is striking.

Emile meets quite a diverse group of people during his journey and they are the ones that make those segments interesting. With his unique journey, its no surprise that he strikes up an instant rapport with the people he meets. The hippies, the enthusiastically funny European couple on the river bank, the grain harvester who runs some shady operations on the side, the lonely old man who warns him about losing his family - all these characters are well-etched and make a mark. During his life in Alaska, its all him. We see his enthusiasm and skill as he adapts to life there armed with just a book. And Emile's physical transformation(that reminds us of Tom Hanks' turn in Cast Away) plays a big part in making everything seem real.

Emile isn't really an admirable character since he is at best, eccentric and at worst, selfish. But he grows on us and so earns our sympathy easily. We feel for him when he finally realizes whats important in life and our heart goes out to him when he wishes to return but nature conspires against him. And the last scene is a telling shot that conveys how he has changed.

10 Comments:

At 12:12 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Offtopic:
Raghuvaran passes away!

 
At 1:34 AM, Blogger Naren's said...

looks like inital days of 2008 is bringing more bad news from the industry.Sujatha's expiry and now that of raghuvaran. hope you also read about Selvaraghavan-Yuvan split.no regrets but that this was really a lethal combination which was innovative and bringing new blood into tamil film music (Read the experimentation with 7/G ,pudhupettai sound track)..and all one hopes is for more good news to come so that you don't consider hibernating this blog....

 
At 6:01 AM, Anonymous ram said...

bb, sorry for the hattrick of OT comments...really feel bad about the fact that raghuvaran is no more...what a brilliant actor who was the ultimate "psycho" villain of thamizh cinema...
if someone can post a video of the "i know" scene from puriyadha pudhir, that would be great...that one scene to me exemplified his twisted brilliance...
RIP

 
At 6:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RIP - Raguvaran was brilliant in the Doordarshan show "Oru manidanin kadhai".. He was among the few actors that Rajini liked very much.
Pushpa

 
At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Prin said...

Another superstar in Sivaji dies...:(

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger Raju said...

Sorry Balaji for OT comment.. (I dont think there will be any other discussion apart from Raghuvaran's death now). A very sad news indeed. He was unique and will be missed so much.

 
At 1:44 PM, Anonymous glass said...

yeah........RIP Raghuvaran...........but look on the bright side...we have better villains then him.............and into the wild book verison is one helluva a lot better then the movie

 
At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Vannan said...

RIP - for your write up if you want to write an obituary about him.

His unfinished films are....

Kanthaswamy - Vikram
Ellam Avan Seyal - also had Prakash Raj
Yaradi Nee Mohini - dhanush
Indira Vizha - srikanth, launched recently.

 
At 10:48 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

glass, didn't even know it was based on a book b4 the movie came out. but if its a helluva lot better than the movie, its gotta be amazing :)

 
At 6:03 PM, Anonymous glass said...

yea its a real "best-seller" and "best-reader" by Jon Krauker......................read it.....hands down - one of the best real time novels i have read.......along with In Cold Blood

 

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