With Into the Wild, Sean Penn; whom takes both screenwriter and director credit, sets about telling the story of estranged student, Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch). The film, based on the non fiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer, follows Chris after his graduation as he goes about removing all materialistic elements of his life and also leaves his home and family behind. Chris renames himself `Alexander Supertramp' and journeys, as the title so obviously suggests, into the wild.
We are told the story by McCandless' sister, played by Jena Malone (of Donnie Darko fame). This offers an outside insight into our ascetic travellers reasoning, ensuring that we can not resent him for his potentially reckless decision.
This film is a true journey, brought to life superbly by Hirsch's portrayal of McCandless as well as the various other supporting roles that open up a world full of intriguing characters with a lust for adventure and experience.
Of course, what coming of age film would be without a love interest? Into the Wild is no exception. However, as our `Supertramp' befriends the undeniably appealing free spirited Tracy Tatro (or should I say Twighlight's `Bella Swan'?) we realise that even love can't tear him away from his adventurous escape.
If nothing else grabs you about this film, the cinematography, courtesy of Eric Gautier, surely will. We are bombarded with landscape after landscape, from sun kissed beaches to snow frosted mountains, that are photographed in a way that have to be seen to be believed. You may argue that any one could make these places look amazing, in that case I'd challenge you to do the same.
Into the Wild is a film filled with adventure, awe inspiring scenery and most of all; emotion. All backed up by an incredible soundtrack. Penn has done himself proud here and (if he wasn't already) he must be taken seriously as somebody that can work just as well behind the camera as in front. He cant take full credit though as the film is undoubtedly thrust higher by its characters, its story and of course one of the real stars, its scenery.