Cast Away
dir Robert Zemeckis scr William Broyles Jr
with Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Nick Searcy, Chris Noth, Lari White, Viveka Davis, Vin Martin, Michael Frost, Garret Davis, Jay Acovone, Semion Sudarikov, Fred Smith
release US 22.Dec.00; UK 12.Jan.01
Fox-Dreamworks 00/US 2h25 4 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
Gilligan lied. Chuck (Hanks) realises that life on a South Pacific island isn't much fun...
The Oscar-winning Forrest Gump duo of Zemeckis and Hanks reunite for an epic drama about a man forced to find something inside himself that he never knew existed. It's a very long, impeccably made film with real power in its themes and ideas. Chuck (Hanks) is a FedEx problem solver, required to head off on a moment's notice, something his girlfriend (Hunt) doesn't much appreciate. Then after a last-minute call on Christmas, his plane crashes in the South Pacific and he's washed up on a desert island with nothing at all--not even a pair of shoes. His orderly mind sustains him for a while, but the days turn into weeks, months ... and years. If he does get rescued, what will await him back home?

As usual, Zemeckis crafts the film beautifully, taking his time with each scene to create just the right tone, never worried about trying to sustain a more commercial sense of pace or action. The result is mind-bogglingly oppressive--we feel the overwhelming boredom and fear of Chuck's predicament. Yes, it's very slow (and a half hour could've been cut fairly easily), but at the same time the film's scale drives home the point beautifully. As does a lot of rather obvious (but effective) irony. Technically, the film is virtually flawless; the effects are astonishing (the plane crash sequence is terrifying) and the use of landscape and sound are fantastic. The script is insightful and unafraid to tackle very serious issues head on. And the performances are brilliant. Hunt is exceptionally good (no surprise), while Hanks transforms himself inside and out as the film progresses. His mental and physical struggles are powerfully moving, right up to the clever, provocative final sequence. With its rather difficult structure, slow pace and tough themes, the film is unlikely to be a huge hit. But it deserves to be.

[12--adult themes, violence] 5.Dec.00

at the edge of the world... ~~~~~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~~

"What can I say? if Hanks does not get an Oscar for this performance, I will be shocked - at least a nomination. Most of us have seen the trailers and know what this movie is about - an efficiency expert, Hanks, is the sole survivor of a plane crash into the Ocean - he washes up on this tiny Island, and learns he is alone, totally alone. It is amusing to see how he "rescues" the Federal Express packages washed up on the beach, at first storing them in hopes of eventually delivering them, then he finally decides to open them when he realizes he is not to be rescued. I really loved this film - it showed the hopelessness and total sense of being alone, giving up hope on being rescued, yet I never got bored. All I can say is, you gotta go see this movie!" --Laurie T, Minneapolis 2.Jan.01. send your review to Shadows...

"The most over-rated film of the year. Four years on an island and this man is unchanged ... give me some catharsis! And not over some lost volleyball with a face! How Hanks spends all that time next to nature and not become a different person is beyond me. And to imagine his girlfriend is not going to find another and figure him dead ... unimaginable. The whole point of the movie seems to be summed up in the line 'you never know what is going to be swept up on shore by the tide' is really banal." --David Ogden, Cincinnati 4.Jan.01.

2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall