Cast Away (2000)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox)
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Overall Rating 73%
Overall Rating
Ranked #195
...out of 15,250 movies
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Flying from one country to another, troubleshooting problems and arranging package transfers all over the world, the driven but overworked and time-obsessed Federal Express executive, Chuck Noland, is living a hectic life. In 1995, against the backdrop of the impending New Year's Eve, an unforeseen complication forces Noland to leave his sad but understanding girlfriend, Kelly, behind, and catch a plane to Malaysia, only to end up marooned on an uncharted, uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Suddenly, for the first time in a long while, Chuck has all the time in the world; however, bereft of the comforts of civilization, tending to his fundamental needs now becomes a constant struggle. Now, Chuck, the only living soul on the islet, must summon up the strength to survive. But, can he resist despair, and maintain hope to stay alive? --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: April 25, 2011
Tom Hanks has sort of slowed down in recent years, but there was a time where he was Mr. Hollywood and was starring in just about every major film hitting theaters. For a while there, you really didn't even have to put much thought on who to bet on come awards time: Just figure out which movie he starred in that year, and that would be the film sweeping every awards show. So, it is a testament to the man's ability that he was approached for a role in which he would be not only the star, but he would also be the only person appearing on screen for ninety percent of the two-hour running time. With that kind of minimalism, the film would still go on to be one of the best releases of the year, and yes, it more than doubled its $90,000,000 budget when all was said and done.

Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is a FedEx executive who, quite frankly, is a bit of a slave-driver to his employees. He stresses the importance of keeping up with the clock and making sure that packages arrive at their destinations on time, which I guess is great for people who want to receive their beer glasses in a timely fashion, but for his employees... not so much. It also isn't too great for Kelly (Helen Hunt), the lady of his life, who just wants to spend a little time with her man. Unfortunately for her, work comes before family in Noland's life, and thus, he finds himself aboard a plane on Christmas Eve to deliver some last-minute packages for his company.

He probably should have stayed home with the lady that night, because some sloppy package handler accidentally misloaded hazardous materials on this plane. Coupled with a nasty storm outside, the end result is the plane crashing with Noland being the only survivor. He eventually winds up on an island, where he will spend the next four years with only a volleyball named Wilson to keep him company. He learns how to survive off of the land, and more importantly, he reflects on how he was leading his life. He also sets aside a single package from the flight to give him something to look forward to: when, not if, he gets off this island, he will deliver that damned thing himself.

As mentioned, Tom Hanks is the only human on screen for the vast majority of the running time. He eventually befriends that lovable volleyball and talks to it on occasion, but other than that, there is very little dialogue to be heard other than him screaming in frustration. Most of the story is told through the visuals and his facial expressions, and this is where Hanks shows that he is in a league of his own. Very few actors could have made this film work, but not only did he do it, but he made every minute enjoyable. Hell, he's such a great actor that he was able to bring a tear to the eye during a heartbreaking scene with... you guessed it... a freaking volleyball.

I also enjoyed the ending of the movie, in that it was able to deliver both a happy upbeat ending and a sad ending at the same time. I don't really want to discuss it on the off chance that any of you out there have yet to see this movie, but it definitely got a thumbs up from me. Most movies present us with one or the other, but this one did both and it did it in such a perfect way that it's hard not to love it.

Most of the film relies on visuals, and the filmmakers did not skimp on that account. There are some breathtaking sights on display here, such as the view from the island summit and the scene where the plane actually crashes. The island itself almost becomes a character in its own right, as it is used to such great effect that it adds to the film in a way that words simply can not describe. Oh, and that scene with the whale? That was just downright beautiful.

Cast Away may not hit the spot if you're in the mood for lots of action or award-winning dialogue, but if you want a movie that proves that Mr. Hanks is by no means overrated or if you want a film that will make you reflect on what is truly important in life, this would definitely be one to give a spin. It is by no means the best film that Tom Hanks has starred in, but that does not mean that it receives any less than a 10/10 from me.
AttnDefDis #1: AttnDefDis - added 04/25/2011, 08:13 PM
I remember seeing this on Christmas Eve of whatever year that was with all of the other women in my family. We pretty much all agreed that it was way too long. Granted, Hanks did a hell of a job and I appreciated the fact that the only moments of levity were provided through a volleyball with a less than original name, but it was dull. I've never watched this again, nor do I have any desire to. In my opinion, Forrest Gump is ten times the movie this is. I mean, the entertainment value alone puts Cast Away to shame. It seems the only reason to even make a movie like this is to get your lead actor an Oscar nomination. Which apparently works wonders.
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