Into the Wild by Sean Penn

Into the Wild by Sean Penn: In Search of the Self

Into the Wild is an adaptation film of a non-fiction book written by John Krakauer in 1996. The movie is an American biographical drama film which was produced and directed by Sean Penn in 2007. It is based on the sorrowful life faced by Christopher McCandless as he travels across North America and how he spent his time in the Alaskan wilderness in the early years of the 1990s. The movie sets off with the background of a dysfunctional family, then proceeds through a sequence of encounters with the lonely and lost, before ending in a premature and a seemingly senseless death.
According to Penn, Christopher Mccandless was once a troubled and impulsive boy before growing to become a brave and dedicated young man with a spiritual pilgrimage (Penn & Krakauer, 2007). The character of Christopher in this review is portrayed as one that does not run away from any danger, but instead stumbles into it in a thrillingly way and then a fatal way to accomplish his joy before realizing the importance of forgiveness and family.

The celebrated stars in the film include Emile Hirsch as Mccandless with William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden taking the roles of his parents. Other stars featured in the movie include Hal Holbrook, Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn, and Catherine Keener. The movie premiered in 2007 during the Rome Film Fest and opened later for viewing outside Fairbanks in Alaska on the 21st September, 2007 (Penn, Krakauer, 2012). Its production took place in a number of places. The scene where Chris graduates from Emory University was filmed on the front lawn of Reed College during the fall of 2006. Some of the shots were taken during the actual graduation at Emory University on the 15th of May, 2006. The scenes of Alaska and the stampede trail with the abandoned bus were filmed in a tiny town called Cantwell, which is 50 miles from the place where Mccandless actually died. The film production consisted of four separate trips to Alaska during different seasons.

Christopher was raised in a well-to-do family, growing up with his sister by his side. Together in their childhood, they experienced many fights between their ambitious mother and their domineering father. Both parents had a vision of letting their children benefit from their wealth, but a family secret ruined any hopes of Chris having wealth. When he graduates in 1990 from Emory University, he rejects his gift of a car, burns his social security card, he donates $24,000 as charity to Harvard School of Law and cuts into pieces all his credit cards (Penn, Krakauer & Paramount Vantage, 2007). He then embarks on a journey that will take him as far as possible from the reach of his parents. Later on, he abandons his car along the Arizona deserts and burns all his money, deciding to hitchhike. It is then that he decided to change his name to Alexandra Supertramp as a way of making a clean break from his past. Along the way, he meets a number of people with different perceptions of life – one being Ron, who urges him to consider forgiveness and seek happiness (Penn & Vedder, 2008).

The purpose of this movie is to portray the message of forgiveness and the importance of sharing. One of the messages clearly shown in the movie is that if one forgives, one is shown love and divine light shines upon their life. We can say that the purpose was fulfilled looking at the many lessons that Chris, now Alex undergoes both on his physical and spiritual journey looking for solitude and companionship.

Movie Review: Sean Penn’s ‘Into the Wild’ – The New York Times. (n.d.). Retrieved May 2013, from
Penn, S., Krakauer, J., Linson, A., Pohlad, W., Gautier, E., Brook, M., . . . Mostra Internacional de Cinema em São Paulo (2012). Hacia rutas salvajes =: Into the Wild. Madrid: distribuido por Paramount Spain.
Penn, S., & Krakauer, J. (2007). Into the Wild. Hollywood, CA: Paramount.
Penn, S., & Vedder, E. (2007). Into the Wild: Music for the Motion Picture. Europe: J records.
Penn, S., Krakauer, J., & Paramount Vantage (2007). Into the Wild: Screenplay. Hollywood, Calif.: Paramount Vantage.