Into the Wild: DVD review
Penn’s film (a book adaptation) tells a story that justifies any amount of meandering or cutting loose. But none of Penn’s back-to-nature aesthetic precludes developing a sense of disbelief at the tenacity—or is it idiocy?—of Christopher McCandless (Hirsch). In 1990, McCandless graduated from Emory University and hit the road with an ill-defined, literary-influenced desire to divest himself of civilization. A kindred spirit (Vaughn) advises McCandless not to go north to Alaska, where the would-be Thoreau nevertheless died of starvation at 24. A road movie paced for hikers, Wild has an agreeably baggy feel—it’s easy to get lost in the film, to lose track of time. Penn also has the benefit of a flavorful supporting cast: Hippie-wise folk Keener and Dierker all but walk off with their scenes, and Holbrook infuses a late dose of drama. For more on what McCandless endured, check out the DVD feature “Into the Wild: The Experience.