AroView: With his trademark earnestness, Sean Penn adapts Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction book about a 22-year-old who dropped out of society in the early 90’s to liberate himself on a solo odyssey that would take him into the Alaskan wilderness.
This fascinating true story will resonate with viewers who have travelled off the beaten track, or contemplated such, but Penn’s over-sympathetic direction mirrors the flawed idealism of a misguided character, and his storytelling devices (voiceover, screen texts, etc.) are at times ham-fisted. As such, the film is most comfortable and confident when embracing the stunning landscape, less so on psychological terrain. Songs by grunge rocker Eddie Vedder sets the burly-romantic tone.