8:00 PM, 7th March, 2008
Into the Wild is an interesting and challenging look into the life of Christopher McCandless. McCandless (Hirsch) is fresh out of college looking to find out what life could offer him. He excelled in both the physical and mental aspects of schooling but what he strived for was purpose. To discover this he leaves home, cutting all ties with his family and spurning all the materialist norms of society to embark on his life's adventure to Alaska. He dreams of abandoning it all to live in the wild, free. The film is a breathtaking tale of the impact this young man has on the lives of the people he encounters on the way, and of his discovery of what matters most to him.
The film is in no hurry to tell its tale, as it jumps between the main phases of Christopher's journey and the present with him in Alaska. The scenery and the cinematography are amazing, exceeded only by the open and sincere performance of Hirsch. The rest of the cast also deliver great performances, and Eddie Vedder's soundtrack lifts the film perfectly. In a hard story to tell, Penn has done an excellent job, even as the story goes down the stark stretch that it had to tell. Into the Wild is haunting, compelling, and great.
9:48 PM, 7th March, 2008
Michael Winterbottom has done it yet again. He has taken a subject no one else will go near and made an insightful, deep and honest film. Just like 24 Hour Party People, The Road to Guantanamo and Welcome to Sarajevo, A Mighty Heart takes the real life story of the murder of Daniel Pearl in 2003 to enter a political discussion that seems to have been left out of the newspaper reports on the war on terror. Told from Mariane Pearl's account of the terrifying and unforgettable story of her husband's life and death. This is yet another masterful production by Winterbottom, who surely must be one of the gutsiest directors around.
Working for the Wall Street Journal Daniel travels from Karachi to Dubai with his pregnant wife, who's also a reporter. On the day before, with great care, he hasarranged an interview in a caf((eacute)) with an Islamic fundamentalist cleric. When Danny doesn't return, Mariane initiates a search. Pakistani police, American embassy personnel, and the FBI examine witnesses, phone records, e-mails, and hard drives. Who has him? Where is he? There's also the why; because of U.
S. abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo? Because of a history of Journal cooperation with the CIA? Because Pearl is a Jew? Through it all, Mariane is clearheaded, direct, and determined and Angelina Jolie plays her brilliantly. You simply must see this film. If you are in any way engaged or affected by the 'war on terror', the very personal reality and brutality of religious fundamentalism and what the human spirit can and cannot endure, then you simply must see this film.