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.
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.