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Cast Away (2000)
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Review Date: December 11, 2000
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: William Broyles
Producers: T. Hanks, R. Zemeckis, J. Rapke, S. Starkey
Actors:
Tom Hanks
Helen Hunt
Plot:
A man consumed by time in his own day-to-day life gets into a major plane crash, leaving him stranded alone on an island. The movie basically follows his journey as he attempts to survive and escape the lonely clutches of island life.
Critique:
Can a movie that spends about 80% of its runtime alone on an island with one man actually not be boring? You bet. Especially when it manages to make you feel as though you are stuck on that very island with him. Here we have a movie that does not play by the rules of Hollywood. There are no major sweeping scores or soundtracks. There are no cute supporting players, or breakout performances by the latest ingenues coming out of Tinseltown. This film puts you through one of the most authentic plane crashes ever witnessed on the big screen, and then just as effectively, strands you on an island with a man just like any other. The journey you take with that person is an interesting one, and one that held my attention throughout. I honestly expected to be bored at some point. I was waiting for the whole stint on the island to weigh down on me or for me to begin counting the number of people in my theatre, but I thoroughly enjoyed the premise of this film and the gradual manner in which they allowed its story to build. The film is also loaded with ironies, of which I am a big fan. But with any film such as this, chances are that not everyone will be a fan. There is obviously very little dialogue in the movie, and you're basically living day-by-day with Tom Hanks, so if he or his predicament doesn't interest you, you're not likely to care much about any of the film. But it worked just dandy for me. It's just too bad that I knew how it was gonna end up because of the crappy trailer that the studios put together (read my complete tirade above), otherwise the story might've held some suspense in it for me as well.

On the downside, I didn't really get too emotional about the movie. Hanks' character was interesting to watch, mesmerizing to follow and fulfilling to witness growing, but I didn't feel much for him, or anyone, at the end of the movie. Was I supposed to? I think so. I think the story is supposed to show us how we really don't take the time to appreciate the little things in our lives, and even though the film does give you a real sense of that, the relationship element didn't really gel for me. Having said that, the film still comes through as one of the more original movies of the year, and the direction by Zemeckis is top-notch. See the movie for its realistic portrayal of life alone on an island, the terrifying plane crash, the various adventurous escape attempts by Hanks and even for his performance, which despite being mostly non-verbal, comes through once again. BTW, the FedEx company should be nominated for Best Supporting Actor in this film. Wow. Has there ever been a product placement used so entirely as part of a movie? Incredible.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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2:10PM on 04/09/2006
Robinson Crusoe anybody? Just about, except this particular movie takes place in the present day. You got this guy, played by Tom Hanks, who works for Fedex and one day while flying internationally, the plane crashes and he washes up on a deserted and relatively obscure island. The rest of the movie deals with his survival on said island.

Now this might sound like a boring movie: guy stranded on island . . . ("crickets chirping" here) but in the hands of director Robert Zemeckis and star
Robinson Crusoe anybody? Just about, except this particular movie takes place in the present day. You got this guy, played by Tom Hanks, who works for Fedex and one day while flying internationally, the plane crashes and he washes up on a deserted and relatively obscure island. The rest of the movie deals with his survival on said island.

Now this might sound like a boring movie: guy stranded on island . . . ("crickets chirping" here) but in the hands of director Robert Zemeckis and star Tom Hanks - this movie examines more than just life on a deserted island. There's a lot of character study and development (I'm about to get a little philosophical here, but bear with me - I've thought about this).

You can say this movie is about survival; not just staying alive against extreme odds, but survival of one's sanity, soul, determination, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to maintain all of these things.

This movie has a lot of interesting moments: watching the protagonist examine what has happened to him, watching him survive, and basically seeing the chapter in this guy's life on this island.

The ending also has a lot of dramatic effect. I won't go into it too much so as to not give anything away, but the character development continues and so does the dramatic effect. The movie tells you how people take certain things for granted: fire, food, friends, to name a few. It's was cool seeing how he struggled surviving without some of these elements. The ending to the movie reflects on the issue as well.

Kudos goes to Zemeckis and Hanks for making such an interesting and unique movie. A lot of the time on the island is spent without dialogue or music, just the ambient noises of the island and the ocean waves in the background. It is very well done; if you like movies with lots of character development and dramatic effects - then this movie was made especially for you.
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