Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Into the Wild with My Good Friend

My colleague was kind enough to give me his tickets for tonight's preview of Into the Wild. Directed, produced, and written (the screenplay, not the book) by Sean Penn, the movie is about Christopher McCandless and his adventure into Alaska. Christopher (aka Alexander Supertramp), played by Emile Hirsch, is not like most other teenagers. After graduating from Emory University, he donated his life savings of U$24,000 to Oxfam, left home, and went hitchhiking across America. Along the way, he met some unique personalities whom he became good friends with. By doing odd jobs here and there, he managed to save enough to buy the supplies he needed for his stay in the wilderness of Alaska: a .22-caliber rifle, a few boxes of rifle rounds, a machete, a knife, a sleeping bag, a fishing net, a bag of rice, a camera, a notebook, and some books. Fortunately for him, he found an abandoned beat-up bus in the middle of a snowfield, so he made that his home. Days were spent hunting game, collecting water, sprucing up the bus, and reading books.

It was all good for a while, until reality sets in. His bag of rice is not going to last forever; there's less game for him to catch; and I'm sure he's finished reading all the books he brought along. He packs up all his stuff, and leaves his magic bus, ready to go back. While he only needed to cross a small stream during last winter, now it's a raging river, and there's no way he can cross it. With no food left, he started eating roots, berries and leaves. He did have a book called Tanaina Plantlore to help him identify the edible plants, but too bad for him he read the wrong page. He had been eating some leaves, which are indentified as inedible. These things are poisonous, restricts the digestive system, causes nausea, immobility, and ultimately death.

Christopher, ever the brash smart guy, knows what's coming, so he quietly goes into his sleeping bag, zips up his jacket, and waits for his time to come. He was 24, having survived 112 days in the Alaskan wilderness.

By the time the movie ended, my Good Friend and I were famished. We dived in the nearest Chinese restaurant and ordered Hainanese chicken rice and roast pork rice.

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