21 July 2009 | ccthemovieman-1
Beautiful Film, Even Better Than The Book
For a movie to be even better than a good book is no small feat. Yet, that's how I felt after watching this film. It really impressed me. One of the reasons is the fantastic cinematography. Man, this is a beautifully filmed and, at 142 minutes, there are a lot of great scenes to admire.
Sean Penn directed and Eddie Gautier was the Director Of Photography. I can't stand Penn as a person but fair-is-fair and I think he's great as a director, having seen his work in "The Pledge" and "The Crossing Guard." The main actor, Emile Hirsch, who plays "Chris McCandless" (a.k.a. "Alexander Supertramp" reminded me of Leonardo DiCaprio with his looks, build and voice inflection. He is very credible as the young guy who wants nothing to do with materialistic society and dreams of living in the wilds of Alaska. The problem was that he was unprepared and underestimated what he was up against.
Two people who fascinated me the most in here were two extremes, age-wise - Hal Holbrook and Kristen Stewart. It was really great to see the veteran Holbrook ("Ron France") again. He was about 82 when he made this film and hadn't acted in a film in a few years. He was terrific, too. He had some of the most memorable scenes in the story. Meanwhile, teenager Stewart was captivating as "Tracy Tatro," who had a crush on "Alex." This young woman is on her way to stardom.
Brian Dierker and Catherine Keener also were really, really interesting as the aging hippie couple, "Rainey" and "Jan." I kept thinking, I know this guy when listening to Dierker's voice, finally guessing it was Jeff Bridges underneath all the beard....but it Dierker, a guy who rarely acts in films.
Knowing the book, the only part of the film that caught be off-guard was the young Swedish couple. I don't remember them in the book but I'll never forget this in this film!! One could debate the pros and cons of Chris McCandless for hours, so no sense going into that here. I thought the film was pretty kind to him. You read more in the book about how he hurt a lot of people with his silence. Either way, it's a a fascinating story and a beautiful film.