ATTENTION: Seeing the film Into the Wild will give more credence to this soundtrack. It doesn't work as well as a stand-alone piece. The review below is one written after both the movie had been viewed and soundtrack heard.
Rather than trying to create a loud band like atmosphere on the Into the Wild film soundtrack, singer-songwriter Eddie Vedder wisely goes at it alone, using a minimalist approach, allowing each composition to flourish in stripped down simplicity. The slower, more contemplative numbers: "Long Nights," "Society," "Rise," "Tuolumne," serve to set the tone during the quieter, more introspective scenes in the movie, giving a melancholic weight to them; just as the more upbeat, optimistic tracks, such as the album opener "Setting Forth" and the Indio cover "Hard Sun," provide a positive background resonance in the more blissful, joyous scenes. Most astonishing is the song "Rise," which sums up the dual spirit of the film, with Vedder, who felt obliged to try and give a voice to Chris McCandless, forgoing the hectic intensity of Pearl Jam for the uplifting mandolinesque splendor of American Beauty era Grateful Dead.