I have read two of Jon Krakauer’s books, but not this one (although I’ve been meaning to). I’m a big fan of his work and, having made my first trip to Alaska this summer, I was anxious to see this movie. Most of the movie was filmed on location, some of it in Alaska. I actually met someone there who claimed to have been an extra in the movie but whose scene was cut. I guess that happens a lot.
Anyway, the location scenes (not only Alaska) are photographed beautifully and authentically. The music by Eddie Vedder is perfect for the movie. Sean Penn wrote the screenplay and directed the movie. Apparently the screenplay is a faithful adaptation of Krakauer’s book.
Emile Hirsch plays Christopher McCandless, recent graduate of Emory University, who leaves everything behind to become “Alexander Supertramp”. He roams the western United States and Mexico, with the eventual goal of living off the land in Alaska. This true story was pieced together from Christopher’s journals and interviews with his family and the people he met on his journey.
Chris manages to survive an Alaskan winter, but dies all alone after mistakenly eating a poisonous plant. Hirsch apparently lost 40 pounds to depict the starving young man. It’s amazing how thin and sickly he looks. He truly seems to be suffering, and understanding that he is near death.
It took Penn ten years to get this movie made. The end result is worth it. This is an Oscar-worthy film.