Into the Wild (2007)
Pulling on the heart strings of the rebellious adventurer inside all of us while it pokes holes in systematic evolution and the steadily growing restraint on our existence. Into the Wild is a visually breathtaking, thought-provoking journey told through an eager set of eyes belonging to a unique, fearless individual. Taking full advantage of the vast landscapes across North America and a highly likeable lead. Into the Wild is one of the most appealing and striking films to ever grace the big screen. Based on a true story and directed by Sean Penn. This cross-country trek is ripe with bright-eyed, kind-natured people living their lives to the fullest. While it may not sit consistently content with all of its viewers. Into the Wild is an unflinching look at the harsh realities of this world and teaches us to seize it instead of looking forward to what could possibly await us in the next.
Upon graduating from Emory University in Atlanta, Christopher McCandless decides to destroy all his worldly possessions and leave his home and family behind in order to travel across America. Hating every facet of a conventional, conformists living. McCandless thrives in the wilderness working odd jobs to make a couple of bucks and makes new friends on his long journey. Spending all this time alone allows Chris to reflect on his troubled childhood, existence, and become one with nature. Eventually wanting to end his journey in Alaska, Christopher does whatever it takes to accomplish his goal while trying not to hurt anyone along the way.
The path may be divided, long, arduous, and diverse. However, there is one steady, dependable aspect of Into the Wild and it’s lead Emile Hirsch. Never taking the easy route or shying away from a little manual labour. Hirsch radiates youthful ambition and an infinite supply of energy. Although craving nothing more than feeling the wind in his hair and to take the road less travelled. Hirsch’s character rarely stays in one place or calls any land home. Hirsch does a flawless job staying firmly rooted and never bitter.
While Hirsch gives a terrific, almost infallible performance. An even more remarkable, albeit technically smaller achievement is the acting of Into the Wild’s supremely talented supporting cast. However, just because they don’t garner as much screen time, doesn’t make their performances any less spectacular. Featuring Vince Vaughan, Catherine Keener, Zach Galifianakis, Hal Holbrook, Jena Malone, and Kristen Stewart. Into the Wild’s superb ensemble is funny, caring, and enduring.
Keener, without question, gives the most sincere and honest performance out of the supporting cast. There is no denying her charm, vulnerability, and maturity, she’ll make you weep. Despite being limited to no more than a few minutes of screen time. Galifianakis manages to conjure up the biggest laughs and shows a more serious side to his talents. As for Stewart, what can one say with a bias as strong as mine. Her performance continues to give me ammunition for anyone discrediting her as an actor. A lot like Galifianakis, Vaughan showcases a much more dramatic edge and discards his comedic prowess for a nurturing, endearing element. Hal Holbrook poses the biggest opposition for Keener. His nurturing wisdom and gradual sadness evokes an ocean of emotion. Finally, the highly underrated and underused Jena Malone provides the trustworthy and formidable base for Hirsch and proves why her lack of use is a travesty.
Sean Penn does an outstanding job capturing the wildness and ferocity of the unforgiving terrain. The only aspect of Into the Wild that rivals his ability to illustrate the sights is Penn’s weightless camerawork absorbing every emotion emitted by the talented cast.
Extremely beautiful both externally and internally, Into the Wild is a highly visual drama that is not to be missed.
Into the Wild: 9 out of 10.
Also guys, don’t forget to check out this week’s top 10 posted yesterday. Have a good weekend!
Donnie Darko (2001)
One of my personal all time favourites, Donnie Darko is an unconventional mix of science fiction, horror, and drama which creates a truly unusual stroke of genius. Donne Darko is so brutally honest in regards to existence, love, and death that it will leave you choked up and deep in self reflection after each viewing. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Zodiac) as a troubled teen who becomes close with a talking rabbit, the ravishing Jena Malone (Into the Wild) as his love interest, and Patrick Swayze (Point Break) as an inspirational speaker with hidden secrets, everyone in Donnie Darko is not who they seem to be.
Donnie Darko (Gyllenhaal) is sleep walking one night as usual while at his home a horrific event has occurred and he unknowingly escaped death. Darko has troubles communicating with his family, peers, and teachers but attends therapy to help convey his emotions and better understand his problems. On a casual day at school, Donnie finds companionship in a young woman named Gretchen (Malone). One night, Donnie is awoken by a giant rabbit who tells him the world will end in 28 days. As time passes, the rabbit named Frank tells Donnie to carry out destructive operations. Nearing the time when Frank’s prophecy will occur, strange events begin to happen and Donnie Darko is faced with a life threatening decision.
Dealing with time travel, mental illness, and meaningful relationships, director Richard Kelly had his hands full with translating this heavy tale to the screen. Now, Kelly may not have done much since, but Donnie Darko is a cult smash that secured his name from ever being forgotten. Kelly uses a firm hand to confront the delicate themes throughout Donnie Darko and is able to expose the roots of self deception and external disguise, intentional or not. Jake Gyllenhaal is analytic, innocent, and terrifying as Donnie and gives his best performance to date. Many have been turned off Donnie Darko with its confusing plot and shady underlying themes. Donnie Darko requires at least a second viewing and some light reading to fully understand, but once you do comprehend, it is sure to knock you off your feet.
Donnie Darko: 9 out of 10.