Into the wild

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German title Into the Wild - The story of a dropout
Original title Into the wild
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2007
length 148 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
JMK 10
Director Sean Penn
script Sean Penn,
Jon Krakauer (report original)
production Art Linson ,
Sean Penn,
William Pohlad
music Michael Brook ,
Kaki King ,
Eddie Vedder ,
Claude Chalhoub
camera Eric Gautier
cut Jay Lash Cassidy

Into the Wild is an American feature film made in 2007 by Sean Penn , who on the same report by Jon Krakauer based and life of Christopher McCandless shows. Emile Hirsch can be seen in the main role , in other roles u. a. William Hurt , Vince Vaughn , Jena Malone and Kristen Stewart .


Christopher McCandless is a 22-year-old student from a wealthy suburb of Washington, DC , who, after graduating from Emory University in Atlanta with a degree in history and anthropology in the summer of 1990, traveled to the United States for two years due to problems in and with him Family begins, which eventually leads him into the Alaskan wilderness. After giving up material possessions and donating his savings of US $ 24,000 to the Oxfam aid organization , he sets off to Fairbanks in his Nissan Sunny and later on foot with a backpack under the pseudonym "Alexander Supertramp" near the Arctic Circle, to face the challenges of a simple life far away from civilization. His flight from civilization is evidently through reading and the like. a. suggested by Ralph Waldo Emerson .

The plot is not told linearly, but has a history (life with the very authoritarian, career-oriented father and the constantly arguing parents), which is repeatedly referred to through flashbacks. The sister is the only family member with whom he has seldom contact. The later actions in Alaska are anticipated again and again. This creates a non-linear, relaxed episode sequence. His diary entries are also repeatedly faded in.

On his trip through several states, Chris works in South Dakota for the down-to-earth farmer Wayne in a grain silo. Wayne advises him not to go north, but to go south. Chris paddles down the Colorado River in a kayak all the way to Mexico . After traveling back to the USA on a freight train, he works in a branch of a fast food restaurant near Las Vegas . He meets the hippie couple Jan and Rainey and most recently meets the old army veteran Ron Franz. He mostly lives as a homeless person, drives illegally as a hobo on freight trains and hitchhikes through the western United States. Again and again, the people he meets make relationship offers and invite him to linger. This also includes an offer of adoption. Occasionally he finds these offers attractive, but ultimately turns them down again and again because he first wants to find himself. In his opinion, to be happy you don't need human company, but loneliness.

Magic Bus : Replica of the 142 bus, shot near the filming location, 49th State Brewery Company, Healy, Alaska, 2014

In April 1992 Chris finally reached his destination and, equipped with a small-bore rifle , set off west of Healy into the wilderness of the nearby Denali National Park , where he spent the next few months in an abandoned old bus . There he finds out that he cannot survive with just the survival manual that he took with him. Attempting to smoke elk meat before the maggots eat it fails catastrophically. He even lures wolves into the vicinity of the bus and notices that he will be increasingly dependent on plant-based food in the future. The onset of snowmelt cuts off his way back over the nearby Teklanika River , as its water level and current speed have risen sharply, so that he is forced to stay in his “Magic Bus” without knowing any alternative routes . Due to food shortages and weakened by eating poisonous pods of the wild sweet pea ( Hedysarum mackenzii , brown bear's wild potato) , which he confuses with the edible wild potato ( Hedysarum alpinum , Alaska Carrot) , he rapidly loses body weight and ends up dying on the bus .

Through text notes, the viewer learns that Christopher's body was found by elk hunters on their way along the Stampede Trail at the end of August 1992 . A photo of him is faded in, probably a self-image, which was found undeveloped in Chris' camera. From his diary entries it can be seen that he finally came to the conclusion that one can only be happy if one can share happiness with others.


Music written and composed by Eddie Vedder .

No. title
1. Setting Forth
2. No ceiling
3. Far behind
4th Rise
5. Long nights
6th Tuolumne
7th Hard Sun - Main
8th. Society
9. The wolf
10. End Of The Road
11. Guaranteed


“'Into the Wilderness' is Penn's strongest film yet. He has the right actors in all roles [...]. However: If you don't like the music of Eddie Vedder , once Pearl Jam , you have to listen away. A bit of silence wouldn't have harmed the film. "

“The film adaptation of a factual report, which is divided into biographical chapters, is in the tradition of American philosophizing and evokes the ultimate limit that lies within the human being. The interesting film renounces any critical distance to its hero, although some directorial ideas are sometimes irritating. "

"'Into the Wilderness' is an unusual, exciting, pleasantly unadapted film that aims to be both a jubilant homage and a critical reflection of traditional American values ​​- and it actually achieves both."

“Only in the final does it suddenly become clear that you have been deceived. Nature is not the subject of the film at all, it is neither threatened nor threatening here, and in the struggle that is being negotiated it basically remains neutral. No, it's about love. [...] And Sean Penn, who may have been walking the same path, just a few years longer, has a message for this young man: At some point everyone will arrive - it can only be too late to return. "

“Penn stays close to the biography outlined by Krakauer; he only took some liberties in the weighting of events. The other actors, including William Hurt and Catherine Keener, appear as contourless as Hirsch. [...] where Krakauer's book magically illuminates the soul landscape of a young seeker of fortune, the camera soon exhausts itself in a manic view of impenetrable nature. "

- Daniela Sannwald : Tagesspiegel

“It's about being humble. Nature teaches humility and whoever treats it with pride will be punished. […] 'Into the Wild' does not provide any patented answers for our modern life, and sometimes - as in the conversations between Chris and the old soldier who would like to adopt him in place of his grandchildren - the film gets dangerously close to platitudes. But at least Sean Penn sorts out the manifest mistakes, those of the Gekkos. "


Sean Penn's directorial work won the 2007 Gotham Award for Best Picture, while Emile Hirsch lost to Ellen Page in Juno for Best Newcomer . Eddie Vedder's film song "Rise" received a 2007 Satellite Awards nomination . The film song Guaranteed won the Golden Globe Award . Hirsch also won the National Board of Review's Young Actor Award . Furthermore, Hal Holbrook was nominated for an Oscar in best supporting role.


The film had its world premiere on September 1, 2007 at the Telluride Film Festival . On September 9, 2007, it was screened at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival . The film was released in the United States on September 21, 2007, and in Germany on January 31, 2008.

Large parts of the soundtrack for the feature film were written and recorded by Eddie Vedder. The cover version of Hard Sun (originally written by Gordon Peterson) sung by Vedder includes background vocals by Corin Tucker. The soundtrack version of the Song Society was created in collaboration with Jerry Hannan, who also wrote the song. There are a few other songs in the film, but all of Eddie Vedder's songs are on the original soundtrack.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Film review . In: . November 15, 2010.
  2. Release certificate for Into the Wild . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , January 2008 (PDF; test number: 112 785 K).
  3. Age rating for Into the Wild . Youth Media Commission .
  4. Verena Lueken: Sean Penn's strongest film. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . January 30, 2008, accessed July 31, 2020 .
  5. ^ Into the Wild. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed November 2, 2018 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  6. Andreas Borcholte : American outdoorsman. In: Spiegel Online . January 30, 2008, accessed July 31, 2020 .
  7. Tobias Kniebe : Casual in matters of survival. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . January 30, 2008, accessed July 31, 2020 .
  8. ^ Daniela Sannwald: Sean Penn filmed dropouts report. In: Der Tagesspiegel . January 29, 2008, accessed July 31, 2020 .
  9. Hanns-Georg Rodek : Sean Penn loves the forest, not capital. In: The world . January 31, 2008, accessed May 27, 2014 .
  10. ^ Opening dates for Into the Wild . In: Internet Movie Database , accessed September 18, 2007.
  11. Soundtracks for Into the Wild . In: Internet Movie Database , accessed April 18, 2012.