There's a bittersweet quality to McCandless' story that Penn captures intuitively.
To these eyes, Into the Wild is an unusually soulful and poetic movie that crystallizes McCandless in all his glittering enigma, and allows us to decide for ourselves whether he was the spiritual son of Thoreau, Tolstoy, and John Muir, or the boy most likely to become Theodore Kaczynski.
Into the Wild is a beautifully made motion picture and some of the segments (especially those with Hal Holbrook and those that transpire around "the magic bus" in Alaska) are powerful.
Peter TraversRolling Stone
Penn, in tandem with the superb cinematographer Eric Gautier (The Motorcycle Diaries), captures the majesty and terror of the wilderness in ways that make you catch your breath.