At first we see mother Billie who awakens one night and says to her husband Walt that she heard their son Chris, who disappeared after college. The next shot is from a car driver who drops Chris at the edge of civilization, in the snow. The man gives Chris his boots in which is also a phone number to call when he is in trouble. ‘I now walk into the wild, says Chris. He comes to an old bus in Fairbanks, Alaska and tries to surivive.
The movie alternates between Chris’ life in the bus in Alaska and the two years in which he left home and calls himself Alexander Supertramp. We see him after graduating at Emory University, Atlanta. His father wants to buyg him a new car, but Chris hate material goods and hangs on to his old Datsun. In three chapters we follow his trip.
In chapter one My own birth he leaves his Datsun in the desert and starts hitchhiking to the west, to Arizona. The freedom feels good. In California he meets the hippies Rainey and Jan, who life in the former army base Slab City and also had a son who walked away as a teenager, but that is something we hear in the last chapter when Chris visits them again.
In chapter two Adolescence Chris is in South Dakota, working on a farm and harvesting grains. Wayne is the owner, till he gets arrested by the police for selling illegal decoders. An other man tells him all about hunting in the wild. Chris kayaks without a helmet on the Colorado river and meets Mads and Sonja from Kopenhagen, but not for long because the waterpolice is coming near. He peddlesto Mexico and comes back by train without paying.
In chapter three Adulthood he visits Los Angeles, but doesn’t like city life and gets beaten up by an employee from the railways.
Make me an angel that flies from Montgomery
Make me a poster of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing that I can hold on to
To believe in this living is just a hard way to go.
Chris departs and meets in Salton City, Cal. Ron Franz, who was in the U.S. army in Okinawa when his family got killed in a car accident. Ron wants to adopt Chris, but Chris first wants to go to Alaska. Ron brings him in his car to the highway and gives him a gun and fishing equipment.
Chris’ younger sister Carine is the narrator from the home point of view. She tells us with sadness in her voice that in july 1990 her parents were worried, when they heared that Chris left his appartment two months before already. Carine tells us about the fights between their parents. Her father, a genius who works at NASA, had married another woman already and had another son. It was a familysecret but Chris knew about it. His parents wanted to divorce but didn’t. The disappereance of Chris brought them closer together.
Chris himself is quite a wise guy, who loves to read and spread the ideas from other writers. The dialogues are therefore not so interesting. This movie is better for its pictures, but the romantic ideas about the wild are false and cliché.
Into the Wild (1996) is the biography of Christopher McCandless, written by the American writer and mountaineer Jon Krakauer. The book is an expansion of Death of an Innocent, an article also by Jon Krakauer that appeared in the January 1993 issue of Outside. The movie starts with the poem There is pleasure in the pathless woods van Lord Byron. The soundtrack is by Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam): gitar and humming.