I need to find shorter films to enjoy. ( taking a deep breath )…
Into The Wild is a 2007 film directed by Sean Penn. It is based on the book of the same name written by Jon Krakauer. It follows the journey of a recent college graduate who, for reasons deep and wide, strikes out on his own, determined to live without money and only basic possessions as he works and hitchhikes across America. He is determined to end up in Alaska to live alone with nature.
Christopher “Alexander Supertramp” McCandless – is the young man we follow as he deserts his parents’ lifestyle and worldview. He calls himself ‘Alex’ throughout the film. He is a caring young man but not frightened of heading into the unknown.
Billie & Walt McCandless – mom and dad. Dad had Chris and his sister, Carine, out of wedlock. Because of this, Alex considers himself a bastard child and determines that his entire life has been a lie.
Carine McCandless – Alex’s sister and the film’s co-narrator
Jan Burres & Rainey – a couple Alex meets on the road.
Wayne Westerberg- he runs a farm where Alex hires on to harvest crops.
Tracy Tatro – a girl Alex meets at a trailer camp.
Ron Franz – an old man who lost his wife and son in a car accident while serving in the Navy.
Mads & Sonja- hippies from Amsterdam who have come to sight-see in America.
Leonard Knight – a Christian man living in the desert.
Bull – a railroad employee, a brute hired to convince freeloaders from wanting to ride free again, beats the pudding out of Alex for playing the hobo. (that’s all you need to know about him)
Alaska- where Alex ends up living and, finally, dying.
It’s easy to see the faults in others without seeing the same in yourself. Alex feels betrayed by his parents for the actions they hid from him and his sister. As with youth, it is easy to fall into the trap that if one thing is wrong with your parents then all things must be wrong with your parents. It’s no surprise then that he gives away his scholarship money to charity, burns his IDs, cuts up his credit cards and leaves home. He travels across America in his Datsun until it is swept away by a flash flood in the desert. From then on he hitchhikes his way into many lives. Alex is an affable young man as everyone he meets, except Bull, become attached to him even after a short while.
—Mads and Sonja, the European hippies he meets on his illegal kayaking trip serve him food and urge him to stay but Alex is keeping one step ahead of the law and must row away.
—Jan and Rainey pick him up hitchhiking as they travel across the country. They become friends and want Alex to stay with them; for Jan, Alex reminds her of her own missing son and Rainey, who sees the positive effect Alex has on her.
—Wayne runs a farm in South Dakota and hires Alex to help during a summer. They become close. He offers Alex full-time work but Alex declines. Wayne is arrested by the FBI for selling movie de-scramblers for cable boxes and Alex moves on from there.
—Tracy is a 16 year old girl Alex meets at a trailer park where he runs into Jan and Rainey again. She plays the guitar and sings when the park holds local talent concerts. She grows attached to Alex but his desire to travel to Alaska rises above his feelings for her.
—Leonard Knight is a man who has built an artwork in the desert called Salvation Mountain. It is made from adobe, straw and lead-free paint. It is covered with crosses and painted with Scripture. He allows visitors to add to his work while he tells them of the good things The Lord has done for him. Leonard tell Alex the message of love and redemption in hopes of bringing Alex closer to God. Alex appreciates the message but rejects a friendship with Jesus.
—Ron Franz gives Alex a ride to a campground where he is finalizing plans for his trip. They become as father and son and Ron lets him live and sleep in his home. He teaches him how to work with leather and Alex fashions himself a belt designed with symbols of the places he has been. During one of their conversations, Ron suggests to Alex that no matter what has happened in his young life that forgiving those who have hurt you is the only way to continue with an unencumbered soul. He says, “…but when you forgive, you love. And when you love, God’s light shines on you.” Finally, it is time for Alex to get on with his trip but Ron has a difficult time letting him go. He offers to adopt him as the grandson he never had. Alex, in typical style, opts to delay any permanent decision.
—Alaska. Alex finally walks his way north to where he wants to be. Once again he meets with a welcoming environment as he comes across, of all things, an abandoned city bus in the middle of nowhere. He enters, finds somebody else lived there in the past so he takes up residence himself. As time goes on he finds it easy to fend for himself, the hunting and fishing is good and he has been able to collect firewood to last the winter. Finally, spring comes and he decides to head back to civilization. He approaches the once low running river he crossed on the way there but finds it is a raging torrent because of the melting snow. He is trapped. Alaska is the only character who gets to keep Alex. He goes back to the bus, tries hunting but only then realizes that the animals, like him, also migrate to places far away. He grows hungry and resorts to picking and eating berries from bushes he reads about in a book on the topic. He makes a mistake identifying one of the berries and finds he has poisoned himself. Without a chance for a cure he prepares for death. He writes notes about his fear, and sorrow for those he has hurt. Unknowingly, his parents’ lives have slowly come to parallel his. Whereas at the beginning of the story his parents are two people lost in themselves depending on the consumer culture to save them, changes come over them as they lament their son’s turning away thus Carine’s quote, “(They weren’t Alex’s parents anymore), but people softened by the forced reflection that comes with loss”. As he lies on his cot, he makes peace with his parents and as he draws his last he finds that Ron’s words are true.