Thursday, September 27, 2007


There’s a lot I like about INTO THE WILD, but a few specific elements really stay with me. Hal Holbrook turns up late in the film in a role that first screams out “Hal Holbrook as an old guy” but turns into something so much more than that in his brief screen time. I’m embarrassed to say that I sometimes have forgotten if Holbrook is even still alive, even with his very good guest shot on THE SOPRANOS last year. Until he finally leaves us, I will now no longer be making that mistake. What he does here, what director Sean Penn allows him to do here, transcends all expectations of what you would expect from this section of the film. Holbrook’s final moments in the film, which he plays with star Emile Hirsch, are to me, profoundly moving. Maybe even more so is a simple scene with William Hurt on a suburban street near the end. I won’t describe the context but it managed to touch a chord in me that I can’t even explain. It’s now my all-time favorite screen moment for William Hurt.

These scenes make up a small amount of screen time for INTO THE WILD, a film I liked very much. The movie has much more than that, but I was so honestly affected by them that they required mentioning. Some movies don’t even have that much to offer. Sometimes those moments are all a movie needs.


Matt said...

Wow! I am dying to see this film. I'm a big fan of Sean Penn, and of all the actors including Holbrook. Can't wait to see this.

Mr. Peel said...

Matt--I hope you like it. There are a lot of very special things throughout the film. It's probably the best film Sean Penn has directed.

ARBOGAST said...

If you really want to see something, check out Hal Holbrook in a nasty little Canadian number called RITUALS (1977). It's a DELIVERANCE clone that really delivers the goods... but see the uncut version or you won't know what the hell is going on.