Cast Away

"OK"

Cast Away Review


With director Robert Zemeckis at the helm and Tom Hanks atop the marquee, no matter how imaginative a movie might be on paper, it's going to come off feeling like pure Hollywood.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. "Forrest Gump" was quite a novel premise and a good enough movie. But it was a cheaply manipulative movie with such superficial charm that now it's best remembered for spawning pop culture catch phrases and Bubba Gump theme restaurants.

The same sort of contrived ambiance wafts on the winds of "Cast Away," the pair's splashy but accomplished Robinson Crusoe yarn about an obsessive international troubleshooter for Federal Express (Hanks) marooned on an uncharted tropical atoll after surviving the film's spectacularly staged plane crash.

But while its narrative feels somewhat bridled by convention and predictability, the picture still pulls the audience in with sure-footed storytelling and a commendable performance by Hanks in a very demanding role.

After a prologue establishing his devotion to his girlfriend (Helen Hunt) and overriding dedication to his job (he leaves the girl on Christmas Eve to hop a plane overseas for some kind of freight crisis), Hanks is the only actor on the screen for 120 of the movie's (excessively lengthy) 150 minutes. His plane goes down during a storm and, clutching the heirloom pocket watch Hunt gave him before he boarded, Hanks manages to escape the sinking fuselage in an inflatable raft and wash ashore on the isolated isle.

He stands little chance of rescue since the plane was 200 miles off course trying to fly around the weather, and his early days on the island are a potent interlude of speechless disbelief, grief and overwhelming frustration as Hanks endures injuries and hardships that force him to hone his survival skills.

The second act of the film then centers on his determination to persevere. He plucks undelivered FedEx packages from the debris that washes to his small shore and makes use of whatever he finds within: Tulle torn from a dress becomes a fishing net, ice skates become an axe for chopping trees and cracking coconuts. A volleyball gets a face painted on it as a transparent device to permit dialogue so Zemeckis and Hanks don't have to work so hard at conveying emotion, frustration and hopes of rescue.

When the words "four years later" flash on the screen, he's a startling site to see: Gaunt and scruffy (he lost 40 pounds to film these later scenes and sports long, sun-bleached hair and a tangled beard). He's learned to spear his seafood dinners like a native islander in a National Geographic special and to gauge the passage of months by the position of the sun.

The minutiae of Hanks' isolated life does hold a substantial fascination, even though "Cast Away" doesn't effectively transport the viewer from the relative luxury of his or her multiplex seat. There's never a question of how he'll make it or even if he'll ever get back to civilization. (I have some qualms with the particulars of the last act, but I don't want to spoil anything.)

Zemeckis does a resourceful job with the cinematic particulars of the film, creating a traumatic crash scene in the early going (shot entirely from within the plane) and exploring the physical landscape of the island and emotional landscape of his star. Hanks is persuasive and sometimes amusingly outlandish in portraying his character's interaction with his ongoing, life-altering turmoil and the deliberate measures he takes stave off loneliness and insanity (talking to the volleyball gets inane at times).

I have many issues with the pre-rigged machination of "Cast Away" -- the hackneyed concept of the single symbolic package he saves to deliver if he ever gets home, the overbearingly poignant soundtrack -- most of them leading me to wonder how the picture might have been better with a less pedestrian director at the helm.

Nonetheless, it's a gratifying and well-executed film with a well-rounded story arc. Even though it's too much of a feel-good flick to be a sincere drama about survival, I must admit I enjoyed it.



Cast Away

Facts and Figures

Run time: 143 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd December 2000

Box Office USA: $233.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $429.6M

Budget: $90M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks SKG, ImageMovers, Playtone

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 138 Rotten: 16

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Chuck Noland, as Kelly Frears, as Jerry Lovett, Paul Sanchez as Ramon, as Bettina Peterson, Leonid Citer as Fyodor, David Allen Brooks as Dick Peterson, Semion Sudarikov as Nicolai, Peter von Berg as Yuri, Dmitri S. Boudrine as Lev, as Stan, François Duhamel as French FedEx Loader, Michael Forest as Pilot Jack

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.