Sunday, September 23, 2007

The road always leads west

Just saw Into the Wild, the new movie directed by Sean Penn with my daughter Jane Bob. As regular readers know, I am very shallow as a reviewer, rarely recapping the story on the off chance you, reader, may someday see the movie.

So I’ll just say this: Into the Wild is very well-written, well-filmed, well-edited and well-acted. A beautiful film containing great insight and depth. The soundtrack, largely written and performed by Eddie Vedder, is very good as well. The central theme emerges slowly and is quite poignant when finally revealed. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes great story and cinematography and doesn’t require car chases and explosions. There is very little sex and violence and only a few bits of innocent nudity. As movies go these days, it is all very mild and not at all inappropriate for a mature kid. I’d only say it would be inappropriate for an immature kid because of its length and pacing. It is about two and a half hours,and although it never really drags, it does, as already mentioned, lack car chases and explosions. Jane Bob and I were never bored and I think cutting any of the parts would seriously detract from the whole.

Of course I am just another character with opinions on the internets, not a professional movie reviewer, but for what it’s worth I think Sean Penn is one of the best writer/directors working today. I was shocked the first time I saw Indian Runner on late night cable. It was such a great movie. I had no idea it was by Sean Penn and probably thought of him as Mr. Madonna back then anyway. The Crossing Guard and The Pledge were incredibly well made movies as well. All of his films are subtle and meaningful. The cinematography is often breathtakingly beautiful. And he gets a lot out of his actors. I’ve never had any idea how they go about Oscar nominations, I’d say Hal Holbrook deserves supporting actor consideration for his work in Into the Wild.

And on a personal level, I relate to the main character in Into the Wild. I too went west on spiritual journeys and did a lot of stupid things pursuing whatever it was I pursued. I'm not so sure I've come to the same conclusions as Penn on how we can best relate to incredible natural beauties, but I understand where he's coming from. It's a great place if you can get there. Staying too long... well that could turn into something else.