• Publication date: July 15, 2011

Christopher McCandless is the 20th Century�s Thoreau Into the Wild: A true story of bravery on the quest for freedom

Christopher McCandless has just graduated from a prestigious university, and his family is ecstatic. He will no doubt proceed to law school, and make his middle-class parents proud once again. At least that is what one would assume. But one day without informing anyone Christopher packs his car, donates the bulk of his wealth to charity, destroys all of his identification, and embarks on a journey in search of freedom.

Christopher McCandless has just graduated from a prestigious university, and his family is ecstatic. He will no doubt proceed to law school, and make his middle-class parents proud once again. At least that is what one would assume. But one day without informing anyone Christopher packs his car, donates the bulk of his wealth to charity, destroys all of his identification, and embarks on a journey in search of freedom.

More specifically though he desires peace and total isolation from the world's complexities. His intended destination is Alaska � the most remote location he can imagine. Soon after Christopher's trek begins though he is caught in a flash flood, which destroys his trusty yellow Datsun. True to form, he opts to abandon the automobile and the associated costs and troubles of repairing it. Yet he goes one step further, and burns what little remains of his savings. While his intentions are noble his family is a nervous wreck, wondering about their son's safety. This too is part of Christopher's plan, however, part of a bid to distance himself from mom and dad's argumentative relationship, which resulted in a turbulent upbringing.

Christopher continues to crisscross throughout the southwest by hitchhiking and then later solely on foot. While doing so he connects with a plethora of interesting characters, including a farmer who employs the traveler � at least until he is arrested for stealing satellite television. He also spends time with a pair of hippies � Jan Burres and Rainey, who maintain the sixty's spirit nearly 40 years later. His travels with Jan and Rainey lead him to a California commune, where he encounters Tracy Tatro, a young lady clearly infatuated with him.

The twenty-year-old bedouin's travels appear to be approaching an end though, as he heads to Los Angeles. After a short stay in the big city however he becomes disillusioned, and fears that giving up so easily without reaching Alaska would jeopardize his principles, making the entire trip fruitless, despite meeting so many fantastic people along the way.

Outside of Los Angeles Christopher encounters Ron Franz, a leather worker and former military officer in his senior years. Ron adopts Christopher as his surrogate grandson, and advises him not to proceed to Alaska, assuring him that serious danger lurks ahead. Nevertheless, Christopher continues his hike to the snowy state, but promises Ron he will return.

Eventually Christopher does reach Alaska, settles down in the middle of nowhere, and at least initially achieves his dreams of complete peace, isolation and a simple human existence. Trouble lurks ahead that he could never envision however, as the journey turns tragic.

Into the Wild is based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, who wrote about his day to day nomadic experiences from his native Atlanta to Alaska, where he would ultimately die. The picture was a commercial success, garnering $52.2 million at the box office. Its soundtrack features the stripped down compositions of Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder, alongside other pop artists like M.C. Hammer and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Year: 2007

Duration: 148 minutes

Genre: Adventure, Biography, Drama

Starring:

Emile Hirsch

Marcia Gay Harden

William Hurt

Jena Malone

Catherine Keener

Vince Vaughn

Kristen Stewart

Hal Holbrook

Director: Sean Penn

Rating: Rated R for harsh language and some nudity.