Thursday, November 29, 2007

Into the wild (of West London)

It's official: I'm in a good place, people. It's not like I've won the lottery or anything, it's just that I'm feeling calm, contemplative, and content. I think it has something to do with the short week I've had at work courtesy of booking Thursday and Friday off, the sense of accomplishment that comes from having wrapped some Christmas presents (seriously, I only did it because I need to gauge how much more paper I need to buy!), and a film I saw last night that has stuck in my mind in a good way.

Yaz and I met up in Shepherds Bush to see Into the Wild, y'see. Now, I didn't really know too much about this film; I'd seen a snippet of the trailer which I though looked OK, and we got in on an Orange Wednesday buy-one-get-one-free thingy, so even if it was a load of old poopy we'd not wasted too much cash on it. What I didn't appreciate, though, was that it was based on a true story, which was both massively good-times inspiring, and heartbreakingly emotional; unsubstantiated reports suggest that *someone* in the cinema, who may have been sitting next to me, might've been welling up a little*. And that's not happened since we saw the re-release of ET a few years back.

Anyway, the gist of the film is that this guy graduates from college, then drops completely off the map - burns all his I.D., abandons his car, doesn't tell his family where he's going, renames himself Alexander Supertramp, and just hits the road with the ultimate goal of spending time in the wilderness of Alaska. I'll be honest, I didn't enjoy the first 20 minutes or so because I really didn't like the way it was filmed; there were too many wobbly close-up shots. In hindsight, though, this served to highlight how claustrophobic and overwhelming modern life is - by the time Alex got out on the road the close-ups were replaced by beautiful wide vistas stretching into forever. I think the only other two bits I didn't like were a brief snippet of two hippies having sex, and an unnecessary bit where Emile Hirsch sang.

So this film totally went from a "huh" to a "ohmygod this is amaaaaazing" pretty quickly. And as good as it was, there were two things that really stood out for me. The first thing was Hal Holbrook, an 82 year-old actor who played the roll of Ron Franz; he was brilliant, and totally deserves an Oscar for his performance. The second thing was the soundtrack, which is basically a solo album by Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam. My bro had been harping on at me for ages about the fact that Eddie Vedder had done a film soundtrack, but it's only when his name appeared in the opening credits that I put two-and-two together and a light bulb flashed on above my head. The songs - all acoustic tracks - are *utterly* beautiful, so much so that I've just been over to see the family, stole the album off Simon, and am listening to it as I write this.

All in all, then, I'm highly recommending this movie (and soundtrack). You can read about the guy whose life the film was based on HERE, but I'd really recommend you go see the film rather than read some dry old Wikipedia page.

* It didn't stop this person making a wry comment about how he should've taken a box of Tracker bars into the wilderness with him, though.


T-Bird said...

When I hear Sean Penn directed this one, all I could think of was his puppet in Team America.

So this is a good flick? I'll put it on the list for Jetz and I!

Tim said...

Now, I'm not a Sean Penn fan - I know he's a good actor an' all, I just … don't like him. But he's a top director. T-Bird: seeing this film is a Priority-1!

Tara said...

I almost got to see Hal Holbrook in a production of "Death of a Salesman", but the night we went was the night an understudy took over. Grr. He's a great actor. ET makes me cry every time I see it.

Tim said...

Aaaw, that is such bad luck, Tara! I've often gone to see plays based on the acting talent, and would be absolutely gutted if I didn't get to see a certain actor!

Dinah said...

Grrr. This movie has been playing at the theatre down the street from me for like, two months, and now that I do want to see it, based on you talking about it, it'll probably be gone tomorrow.

In other news, wrapping Christmas presents is so much fun.

T-Bird said...

Cool we will definitely see it then!

Hmmm. I haven't even started Xmas presents...

Tim said...

Dinah - Well, that'd be a bugger! Pound on their door and make them show it!

T-Bird - Get your skates on - it's almost December!!!