Cast Away (2000)

Cast Away is a drama film directed by Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland, and co-starring Helen Hunt as his love interest.  Chuck Noland is a successful FedEx employee, who on Christmas day, is called to resolve a problem in Malaysia and must go on an emergency flight.  A violent storm hits the plane, and they crash in the ocean, and Chuck is forced to live off a desolate island with limited supplies, no friends, and no love whom he had promised he would return.  (Running Time: 143)(Rated PG-13 for some intense action violence and disturbing images)

Its hard to explain, but, I never tire of this movie; of a determined man lost in the middle of the ocean, stranded on a small island with nothing but a volleyball to talk to.  This film is absolutely cinematic magic.

Naturally, the core of this and its story flow is run by its superb acting.  Tom Hanks has thus far impressed me in all of his works, showing he is a very versicle, very ambitious, very talented actor of our day and age.  I salute his performance.  In this drama he shows a determined, desperate, yet disillusion hopeful middle-aged man who clings to something very few people even know exist.  You can see the feelings and emotions roaming through Chuck Noland’s head through Hanks’s eyes.  He makes a believable performance very few actors are capable of nowadays.  I haven’t done enough research on him, but I believe he is a method actor (one of the few these days).  In Cast Away, I think Mr. Hanks deserves a respectful salute to portraying this character.  Truly, I don’t know anyone else who could’ve played the part as successfully and realistically as he now that I’ve seen the film over and over again.

Robert Zemeckis is a kind of director who knows where the story is heading and the motive behind it is meant to go.  With these two accomplishments he creates a style; a relatively simple yet unique style that is subtly shown throughout the film’s two and a half hours.  Zemeckis originally gained his popularity from such box office smashes like Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Romancing the Stone.  Before Cast Away, his deepest and most moving motion picture was the highly-praised and box office success Forrest Gump, which starred Tom Hanks as well.  In Cast Away, he decided to look at a basically simple story in a different way; incorporating originality with realism of someone literally surviving on a deserted island for years.  I give two big thumbs up for Zemeckis’s work on this project!

A few basic facts on production of this movie before continuing:  To make himself look like an out of shape middle-age man, Tom Hanks did not exercise and allowed himself to grow pudgy.  The film breaked for a year, allowing Hanks to lose his weight and grow a full-length beard; in this time, Zemeckis went off with the Cast Away crew and filmed What Lies Beneath.  Almost all the sound in the film was bad and unusable when post-production came, and the sound editors had to go out and record/remix sound effects of waves hitting beaches, wind across the water, rain pouring down on some palm trees, etc.  In one of the first drafts of the film, Chuck Noland has multiple-personality disorder; a good Chuck and a bad Chuck.

I was greatly surprised when the film ended on the note of Tom Hanks’s character deciding to do the right thing rather then the thing he wanted most.  The moral of the story reflects the idea that if something in life pushes you down, you just got to bob back up to the surface.  “I knew I had to keep breathing,” Chuck says in the film.  “Because tomorrow the sun will rise.  Who knows what the tide may bring?”

The film was acclaimed by critics.  Tom Hanks was nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards, and won the Golden Globe in the same category.  The film also a financial success, bringing in over $400 million on a $90 million budget.

Ah, what a great film.  I really, really enjoy it.  The end scene makes me nearly tear up every time.  Is it the perfectly timed music, the crossroads of Chuck Noland’s decision making?  I don’t know.  A lower 6 out of 7 stars.

I would highly recommend this film.  Some say it’s slow at spots, my opinion differs.  I think its part of the style of this film.  If it was now done in such a way, then the feeling of time passing for Chuck Noland wouldn’t feel as…believable.  And in the end, this movie has a realistic taste to it that cannot be ignored.  When you can, watch Cast Away.  You will not regret it.


About Morgan

January 2016 Update: This blog is under reconstruction. Please be patient while we gradually remove old material, posts, and pages, and create new ones. Thank you.
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