Originally Posted by desertlizard
I don't think Penn tried to make Christopher a folk hero. <...> We get to decide what to think of him.
I agree about many of us seeing a lot of ourselves in the kid. In fact, I was so intrigued, I did a lot of research on the net which ended up reinforcing my conclusions that McCandless, though apparently extremely affable and intelligent, was still pretty much clueless and a mooch. I disagree that Penn's camera angles weren't purposefully Quixotic, I sensed throughout the movie that they were.
For anyone who saw the movie (which I still recommend, if you haven't seen it) and is interested, let me point you to a couple of links. The first is an essary by a lady named Sherry Simpson, a creative writing professor at the U. of Alaska/Anchorage. An incredible writer, her piece gives an Alaskan's perspective. I hope you do yourself the pleasure of reading it, for it is extraordinary -- informative, insightful, entertaining, and a terrific demonstration of how our senses of humor and humanity are - and must remain -- inseparable. You can find it here:
The other piece is by a guy who retraced McCandles's footsteps. The idea that his starvation was caused by poisoning is debunked by chemists, in fact, parts of that explanation are pure fiction, created byJon Krakauer and Sean Penn, which is more than a little annoying to me. You can find that material here:
You are absolutely right, Wayne, we all get to decide what we think of McCandless, his tragedy, and his responsibility for it. And most of us probably do see some parts of ourselves in his spirit. It is why I concluded my initial post as I did.