Into the Wild, directed by Sean Penn, is the one of the best movies of 2007. Before the movie came out, I had read about the story in an issue of Men’s Journal and was very much intrigued by the story – that of a young man rebelling against the affluent and trying to find peace within one’s self via nature. Was it just the rebellious act of freedom from a spoiled rich kid or was he a prophet of peace?
The story can be seen either as one of true self-discovery or one of rebelliousness and carelessness. However, no matter the view, the true emotion of freedom is definitely captured in the film by Writer/Director, Sean Penn. Every minute of the two and a half plus hours of film are superbly done – each capturing and narrating a piece of the story with true and raw emotion – all of which are rendered in the film’s soundtrack – written and performed by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.
Vedder sounds the soul and voice of the protaganist, Chris McCandless (Emile Hirsch), better than anyone I could imagine. While his voice and raw recordings aren’t superb, they fit extremely well into this story, which itself is raw, pure and free. Vedder’s voice is so rough, beautiful, strong, delicate and coarse that he could very well be a narrator of any nature documentary. Thankfully, he penned this soundtrack, which could possibly be the best original soundtrack to any film.
Track by track review:
01. Setting Forth
A great and powerful opener – loud and short. Gets right to the point and doesn’t stray from it – “..be it no concern, point of no return..”
02. No Ceiling
Again, another very short song which I find to be very appropriate. Because the songs like this are so short, they seem like small thoughts in the mind of the main character and are left at that. There isn’t a 30 second guitar riff or anything, only a few profound words of the experience felt ..“..i got my wish to up and disappear..”
03. Far Behind
Energetic, lively and loud. A sense of the end of the old and the beginning of the new. A sense of freedom for the first time. The feeling of the first journey and adventure of a lifetime…“..watch me leave it all behind – far behind.”
Wonderful and majestic guitar strings to match equally beautiful lyrics….“..such is the passage of time…gonna rise up, find my direction magnetically.”
05. Long Nights
The first dark song of the album, i.e. true realization and fear of what’s ahead. Such a simple chord structure here yields such a profound effect. Just hearing the music alone without the words ellicits a feeling of darkness and worry…“who i was before, i cannot recall.”
Instrumental interlude. There is something to be said about how a song without words can create so many images…a beautiful picture is painted here by the gentle figures of Vedder. I see trees, water flowing, snow falling, animals and smiling faces.
07. Hard Sun
The theme song of the film. An inspirational anthem to say the least. Pounding drums and hard-strumming acoustic guitars complement the powerful male-female voices singing the chorus in unison…“..there’s a big, a big hard sun, beating on the big people, in the big, hard world…”
08. The Wolf
Dueling organs and a powerful yelp from Vedder yield a call for help and an announcement of conquer all at once.
09. End of the Road
A realization of where you have come and where you are now and to be at peace with it all.
This song really encaptures the mindset of the main character – what he feels about the world and why he feels the need to escape. A wonderful cover from Vedder….“…society – crazy indeed. I hope you’re not lonely without me.”
The best song on the album. Nominated for a grammy award…..“…i know all the rules but the rules do not know me.”