Based on a true story, the film tells the tale of a young man who after graduating decides to live in contact with nature “without a watch without a phone”, alone, until he reaches his final destination, Alaska. On his journey he meets los of people who help him, he works to buy basic necessities to face the cold and he lives in a “magic bus” found by chance on a stretch of ice. During his journey we are accompanied by his readings (Pasternak, Tolstoj, Levi, Lord Byron), the songs which convey his various states of mind, his thoughts as he writes them down and his reflections on his sister who stayed at home.
Exhausted from hunger, he can't go too far from his shelter due to the impossibility of crossing the swollen river and by mistake ends up eating a poisonous grass (confused with an edible one) and he dies, at only 23 years of age. Some elk hunters find him and his diary from which we learn about the adventures he experienced.
The film is slow in comparison to the usual Hollywood films to which we are accustomed and is full of dialogues which overlap one another but which allow us also to gradually enter into contact with the wild.
The adaptation is one of the best; all the characters of the people whom Chris/Alex meets on the way are well portrayed, from the hippies to Ron to the farmers.
We are nicely introduced to the film by the notices/signboards at the beginning where we find an adequate translation of Lord Byron's verses.
But above all the dialoghist has paid careful attention to Chris's interior maturity, to his spiritual journey through life in contact with nature – the actual narration is divided into chapters which describe the phases of this journey – and therefore, apart from the excellent translation of the books and the signs of the songs which interpret the various states of mind accompanying the main character, we find various levels of language according to whom the main character is talking and according to the nature of the conversation: almost unsuccessful in trying to explain his intention to the farmers, more “inspired” with the hippies, more calm and reasonable with the elderly Ron before reaching the final destination, Alaska.
An example of the language difference: his friend, the hippie, talks to him inviting him to show more interest for a young girl “that poor girl is there and would make love to a pole and you're here doing your stomach exercises” Quella povera ragazza è lì che si farebbe un paletto della recinzione e tu stai qui a farti gli addominali dell’asceta?; whilst Alex' thoughtful tone is: “Se ammettiamo che l’essere umano possa essere governato dalla ragione ci precludiamo la possibilità di vivere” “if we admit that the human being can be governed by reason we take away the possibility to live”.
A demonstration, if it were necessary, of the correctness of the signs, is the non-translation of the girl's song at the camp site, a song which has nothing to do with Alex' journey and therefore, unnecessary for us to understand it.
Furthermore, the excellent choice of the passage from the polite “lei” (you) form to the familiar “tu”(you) form with Ron must be noted: for Ron, the moment has come when he has to be shaken and Alex tries to convince him to abandon his loneliness and his sad memories and to begin – even at his age – a new life.
Also as far as the dubbing direction is concerned it seems that a good job has been done.
All the characters we meet are believable but a particular mention must be made for Roberta Pellini and Bruno Alessandro. She, an abandoned mother, shows all her worries for Alex almost as though he were her son; Bruno Alessandro shows his tiredness of all those years living alone but also the wish to live again, thanks to Alex. Massimiliano Alto shows great flexibility, a capacity to follow the growing maturity of his character and to render, in the various dialogues, the enthusiasm, the demoralisation, the fear, the ability of being young with the young (and therefore slightly incoherent in speech and expression) and to reflect on himself and with Ron.
[original review in Italian by Elisabetta Fumagalli]