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Movie Review: Into the Wild

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It’s rare that a movie can change a hardened opinion and yet that’s exactly what Sean Penn has done with his sublime adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild. When I originally read the book in 1997, my view of Christopher McCandless was essentially in-line with those—largely Alaskans--who considered him an ill-prepared, arrogant fool who died needlessly. The romance of his life and death was entirely lost on me.

But no longer. Penn’s film is so vast and remote, so idealistic and hopeful—such pure cinema--that I couldn’t help but be completely seduced up by it. Never has the itinerant life seemed so liberating, never has endless scrub brush and a ramshackle trailer park in the California desert looked so beautiful and welcoming (or Los Angeles so terrifying). Shooting in many of the original locations that McCandless actually visited, Penn has created a road movie for the ages.