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My token of Gratitude and Appreciation for Into the Wild

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As I vividly remember the first time I watched Into the Wild, it was more than two years ago and ever since then there has not passed a single day during which I had not thought about this movie. For those who have not seen this yet, let me brief you about it first of all. It is a cinematic adaptation directed by Sean Penn of the biography of the same name by a journalist cum author Jon Krakauer. It is based on the life of twenty something American boy name Christopher McCandless who sets off to a journey into wilderness. I am not going to write a review of this movie but I sincerely want to express a token of gratitude to this film.




To begin with, I had only one regret after watching this movie that why did not I see this earlier. Every single detail in it motivates me, evokes me and puts me into metaphysical trance where I experience epiphany every single time. Most of the cinematic fandom associates this work as a ‘survival film’ or ‘road-trip drama’ but to me it is much more than just a form of artwork. I will not try to bore the readers by my extreme liking for it. I will point out the things which made me fall for it. Nonlinear narratives have always been my favorite kind. The sheer philosophical references in Into the Wild incite the true nihilist inside of me. Most of the lines in the movie hits the banal selves like a theological revelations to the devotees. And the most amazing thing, the Eddie Vedder soundtrack is just too good to miss.

Into the Wild 2

The protagonist Chris played by Emile Hirsch, graduates with high honors from Emory University and despite all this, shortly he repudiates all the mundane life and destroys all of his credit cards and personal documents and donates the rest of the money to Oxfam and later sets off to the two year long journey which ultimately concludes in the wilderness of Alaska. He does not tell anyone about his endeavor, not even her sister Carine with whom he was very close which we get to know later in the movie. He adopts a new name for himself, Alexander Supertramp (which I still use as my username for different websites). At Lake Mead, his car is caught in a flash flood, and he abandons it and burns what remains of his money. In Northern California, he meets a hippie couple and later he helps this couple with their failing relationship. Then comes the best part of the film, South Dakota, where in September in that year he works for a contract harvesting company and he is forced to leave after the arrest of the owner named Wayne Westerberg. But before leaving he gives the epic monologue against the society and people in general, I call this scene ‘the epic bar scene’. Society! Society! Ah, this scene still gives me chills.




I will not write the entire synopsis of Into the Wild but only the most important parts of it.  Alex’s psychedelic experience in Los Angeles and that feeling of being corrupted by modernity compels him to leave that place. And then we see him in the Imperial Valley where he reunites with that hippie couple and a teenage girl too. His gracious refusal of that girl (played by Kristen Stewart) because of her underage is one of the highlighting moment of the film. Finally, he heads for Alaska; en route to Alaska he meets and spends two months with an ex US army man called Franz. Before his departure Alex tells him what he plans to do after he returns from Alaska. I must not spoil the climax for the readers and I am not planning for it too. The soundtrack of the film consists most of the songs of Eddie Vedder and will literally put you into trance mode. From ‘Guaranteed’ to ‘Hard Sun’, you feel that those songs are written just for Alex’s life. And I bow down to Eddie Vedder for these beautiful songs.




At the end Chris / Alex comes to the conclusion – Happiness only real when shared. And most of us would agree to that notion. While many fellow cinephiles and critics call this the tragic end of an adventurous young life, I see his life as an inspiration. He did live a life we all dream of doing at least once in our lifetime – leaving everything and set off to unknown. The references of Tolstoy, Thoreau and Jack London are apt for every scene and full of mindgasms. I have to admit that I had already bought, Into the Wild, the book, more than 18 months ago but I somehow do not want to read it, maybe because I want to keep my cinematic experience intact. And I would like to conclude this article with one of its line.Christopher McCandless – “The core of man’s spirit comes from new experiences”.




Author Bio: Mohsin Mistri

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