A venture `Into the Wild' blue yonder

Review A

`Into the Wild' goes down perfect path

October 05, 2007|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic

The pure ardor of first love is what 23-year-old Emory University graduate Christopher Johnson McCandless brings, not to a woman, but to the natural world in Into the Wild, the remarkable, energizing new movie from Jon Krakauer's book about McCandless' attempt to follow Emerson's advice and forge an original relationship with the universe. The movie sees his struggle in the round, as something foolish, stirring and funny - and also, ultimately, devastatingly sad.

What makes the film so satisfying is that, in the hands of Sean Penn (who both wrote and directed it), McCandless' ramblings through the American West and then north to Alaska become a genuine odyssey: a journey to self-knowledge. This boy-man who spends most of the movie foaming with enthusiasm about the joy of roaming around and savoring new experiences comes to realize "Happiness is only real when shared."

Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage) Starring Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, Hal Holbrook. Rated R. Time 153 minutes.


Watch a preview of Into the Wild at baltimoresun.com/wild

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