Most helpful positive review
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
A movie, and soundtrack, that stay with you
on 2 January 2009
I came to this movie on the back of a diary entry by one of my Chinese students - and was as such, happily oblivious to the "hype" that apparently surrounds it. I notice its detractors are as careful in their complete deconstruction of the film, from its actors and soundtrack to its existentialism and moralising, as those who love it are genuinely moved.
As for me, I liked this movie precisely because it shows the flaws and the cracks in a beautiful theory. The Alaskan wilderness proves the fatal downfall of our hero, even as it provides him with the answers. He gives all his money to charity, burns the rest and then has to go and find a job.
Nature is beautiful and terrifying. So is society. You might get killed on the street outside your house, having never lived, and that's the most scary thing of all. McCandless went out there to ask questions of himself and to find out what really matters in this life - he may have lived more in those few years than most people do in a lifetime - and he was foolish, young and pretentious. So what! This is the stuff of life!
I thought the acting was solid and believable, with Hal Holbrook shining as the old man looking to fill the gap in his life by adopting McCandless. Eddie Vedder's soundtrack is perfectly haunting, particularly "Long Nights".
Philosophers, travellers, aspiring vagabonders and anyone who's ever asked themselves who they are, and what they are doing in this life, will like this movie, because it tells the tale of one young guy doing precisely that.