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Applauding the guts
marcgmiller27 September 2001
From time to time a group of people with a lot of guts come forward and challenge something, that every average thinking producer would get nightmares to even think about making it.

Fear of failing must come to mind, if the setting says:

  • only one actor for 80 min (and one dead body)

  • 40 min of it basically limited to: "Hello,.. What's that?.. Albert Miller,.. Over here,.."

  • no BGM

  • no adrenaline injections with savages, sharks, snakes etc.

  • just plain "Life is hard enough as it is."

I loved it for:

  • the guts of making it

  • the heartbreaking and real-to-life love story

  • Tom Hanks' performance

  • his companion Wilson

great movie / must see
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jspratjr38 March 2002
I think this is an excellent movie..I've noticed many felt it "too long, boring, etc..." which is to be expected in today's "gimme non-stop action; I haven't been doing anything for 5 minutes, I'm bored" mentality. This was a true man vs nature movie that really made me think about what I take for granted and I found myself wondering how I would react in such a situation. Would I talk to a volleyball? you betcha...anyone who has spent any significant time alone can relate. Bought the DVD and will watch it for years too come.
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Amazing performance shines through
MisterWhiplash22 December 2000
Robert Zemeckis has his 4th best film here (behind Forrest Gump, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Back to the Future) with Cast Away. Sure it might be overhyped and some characters in the film aren't needed (not to mention it depends on the liking of the lead), but when you have Tom Hanks working harder than any actor in a movie this year, it is worth it.

The story follows Hanks as a dedicated fed-ex deliverer who has a fiance (Helen Hunt) and has to leave her Christmas time to go to Asia, but alas, the plane he's on crashes in the water and, dare I say more (well I can because practically everyone saw the all-revealing trailers)? Well, Hanks arrives on a deserted island and then the real fun begins as he survives in a primitive way (probably remenicent of 2001, Hanks' favorite film), and even finds a silent companion named Wilson (a volleyball). That Hanks can communicate with this volleyball, and almost make the ball as a real person with real feelings that is almost like the Silent Bob to his Jay, is one of the films triumphs. The others of course being the whole lot of him on the island and Hanks' performance. If it was someone else, it would not be as successful, but Hanks gives his all and (as usual) pulls through 5 fold delivering one of the years and his best performances. A-
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What a fantastic film!!!
frwjames28 July 2007
I have never seen a more meaningful and thought-provoking film. Right from the start, I knew this was going to be a classic film, and my opinion was not changed throughout the course of the movie one bit. It delivers such a strong message of fear, survival and hope, that leaves your mind devoted to thinking about it for a long while after. It made me think about all my creature comforts, and what is actually necessary in life. Talking to a volleyball has never been more dramatic! I also loved the fact that there was little talking in the film, maybe that was because i was staying in a hotel in France with french TV, but anyway, it sort of made you guess how he was feeling, in a clever way. This is one of my all time favourite films, and I could watch it again and again without getting bored... so go and watch it...NOW!!
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An excellent Robinson Crusoe variant
Taurus-Littrow13 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I've always been intrigued with Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe", particularly the importance of the items that Crusoe salvaged from the shipwreck, items that Crusoe could not have made himself and which make his survival and the relative elegance of the life he built for himself quite plausible. The real-life inspiration for Crusoe was one Alexander Selkirk who, in 1704, choose to remain on one of the Juan Fernandez islands - four hundred miles from the Chilean coast - rather than continue on a voyage with a captain and on a ship he did not trust. Selkirk was left with bedding, a firelock rifle, some powder, bullets, tobacco, a hatchet, a knife, a kettle, a Bible, his mathematical instruments, and some books. Selkirk's four years on his own were a bit more austere than Crusoe's fictional life, in large measure because of his relatively meager stock of good quality tools. Selkirk also lost a lot of his social skills.

I was interested to see how Cast Away was going to solve the tool issues and how they would deal with a person living on his own for a long period of time. The solutions were simply marvelous: ice skates, volleyball, etc. Tom Hanks is superb in the role.

And as a bonus, the castaway's return home is a fascinating part of the story. The driveway scene between Hanks and Helen Hunt is very powerful and reminds me of the great Emma Thompson/Anthony Hopkins 'book' scene from "Remains of the Day". Highly recommended.
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It's all about love
jtbrat310 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I liked this movie, but I can't say the same for the reviews found on this website. Far too many of these fall into 2 categories: Those who thought the movie was a Crusoe-like story of survival and loved it, and those who thought the film was an ad for Fedex and hated it. But the movie is neither about "man against nature" nor about Fedex.

Cast Away is about love - about the difficulty of finding it in a world obsessed with success, about the freakish accidents that can produce or destroy it, about an ordeal that led one man to re-think what is meaningful in life, and about the need to bring to the pursuit of love the same resourcefulness and courage that enabled the hero to survive on an island for 5 years.

Tom Hanks is superb as Chuck Noland - creating immense sympathy for an ordinary guy trapped - not against his will - in a job that is eating him alive. How many actors could have made Noland's attachment to "Wilson" believable? Yet Hanks does.

The last section of the film, much reviled by many, is immensely touching. Noland has survived 5 year's of utter isolation hoping to be reunited with his fiancé and has resigned himself to death at least a few times before he is miraculously rescued. Anyone who remains dry-eyed during his meeting with Kelly, when their rich feelings are both acknowledged and of necessity abandoned - is unworthy of being allowed in the theater to see a film of such quality as this one.

That Noland's hard-earned wisdom about love and family will not be wasted makes for a marvelous ending to the film. It has required all of his ingenuity and endurance to survive on the island. It will now require strength of a different kind to accept the irrevocable loss of Kelly and open himself to a new experience, perhaps with Bettina. The last scene, with Noland standing at the crossroads, as the haunting theme is reprised for the last time, as Bettina drives toward her house and as Hanks looks into the camera with new-found resolve - is classic - though again, cynics are absolutely barred from enjoying it.
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I was deeply touched
Brianna Weng22 April 2007
******This may contain spoilers******

It's a superb,well directed and well acted movie!Well done,Hanks!!!

I'm a Hanks fan!!!I really appreciate his outstanding performance.I consider him a genius in acting.He never just acts.However,he gives life to his characters ,and makes himself exactly what they are.Forrest Gump,Saving Private Ryan,The Terminal,The Da Vinci Code,including this movie are all my favorites.I'm always deeply touched by his movies.And they often make me cry,make me think,and make me understand more about life and love.Cast Away is without exception.

I was moved by Chuck's spirits. His imagination(he names a volleyball Wilson and talks with him as a friend),his perseverance toward love,and his courage to face problems,all these enable him to survive and finally return to his homeland.

When Chuck and Kelly embraced each other in the rain, I burst out crying.They are true lovers.But,fate is cruel.His beloved fiancée,his only belief during those terrible days and nights is forever gone.His hope is disillusioned.He is standing at a life crossroads,thinking and hesitating.He has to choose a way to begin his new life.

I greatly recommend this movie.Don't feel boring,just be patient.I think movies are not only seen by eyes,but also by heart.Use your heart to feel what the characters feel.Then the more you see it,the more you'll be inspired and the more you'll find.Finally,hope you enjoy other Hanks movies!!!
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pdjudd8 April 2002
I simply loved this film but was shocked by the bad reviews that people gave it. To this I say to them: You seriously misunderstood the meaning of it. Although I won't reveal any real details about the meaning because I think that you should try and understand it yourself. The movie was terrific and simply breathless the whole time. I felt awestruck about how the life of one man could be so changed after an experience that Hanks went through. I say that every element of the film was perfect. And for those of you who hate Wilson, you have to understand about how human he really was to Chuck. I was amazed on how well this movie was made and think that everybody should have an experience that should cause you to take stock of your life. I was so adamant to get this movie; I got it at 8:00 the day it was released. I give it an 8/10. Well done Robert
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Definitely worth a couple viewings.
LebowskiT100014 October 2002
I'll be honest, the first time I saw this film, I wasn't too sure if I liked it. I mean, I certainly enjoyed it, but I just wasn't too sure of how I felt about the film as a whole. I must say that this film was MUCH better the second time around. And just got better with each additional viewing. I am a huge Robert Zemeckis fan, so maybe my expectations were slightly skewed at first. But, all in all, I've watched the film enough times now that I can say "I love this film!!!"

When I really stop and think about it, the film is brilliantly executed. The scenery is absolutely breath taking, the special effects are so well done that you don't even realize that there are special effects present. This seems to be a trademark of Robert Zemeckis (case and point, "Forrest Gump"). The acting is very good, although, there's only 2 real sources of acting in this film, Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt. The rest of the cast was good, but their roles were very minor. Tom Hanks pulls off another great performance, as usual. You really can feel all of his emotions while he's stuck on the island. Also, not many actors have changed their physical appearance like Tom Hanks did for this film, I truly applaud him for his work. As much as I liked Russell Crow in "Gladiator", I firmly believe that Tom Hanks deserved it more (although that would be his third Oscar). Helen Hunt also pulls off a very nice performance. There is also a good deal of comedy in the film, and it is done very well.

This is one of the few films that I strongly recommend you watch. There aren't a great many films that I would say this, but this one I would. Although...if you aren't a fan of Tom Hanks, then you might have some trouble with this film because a great deal of the film is him alone on an island. So, if that is the case, then you are off the hook. So, I hope you watch the film, and I hope that you enjoy it. Thanks for reading,

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well-crafted and intriguing
Special-K8814 March 2002
From director Robert Zemeckis comes this powerful character study of a man and his quest for survival. Hanks is a time-obsessed postal worker on a routine cargo transport. His life is forever changed after the plane crashes and he finds himself stranded all alone on an uncharted island. We're drawn into his long, arduous journey as he struggles not only to keep his sanity, but to stay alive so he can make it back to the love of his life (Hunt). A fascinating, believable, and thought-provoking portrait of a man and his fight to live, with a remarkably ideal performance from Tom Hanks, and steady, effectively leisure direction that allows viewers to accompany this resilient survivor on his emotionally wrenching journey. A small idea expanded into a one of a kind movie. ***½
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The most deserving film not in the top 250
mjcmike118 August 2012
This movie is the most deserving of all movies out there that is not in the IMDb Top 250. In fact, this movie should be in the Top 100. Everything about it works, the cinematography, the locations, the acting, the story and this is Robert Zemeckis' greatest showpiece. Tom Hanks has done some bad roles over the years but this is as brilliant as any Jimmy Stewart performance captured on film. I revisit this film about once a year and find things about it that make it even better with each viewing. The story is so well written in its simplicity, and Helen Hunt and Hanks have an amazing chemistry. It is a love story with action and heartbreak like few films have been able to pull together. I guarantee you will never pass a Wilson volleyball again without a big smile!
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a masterpiece for hanks and zemeckis
SallyNabil27 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
it's not my first time to see this movie but it's been a long time since i last saw it, so i found myself, this time, pondering over the high spiritual meanings in this zemeckis masterpiece and decided to share my thoughts with you.

the idea that obsessed me after watching the movie is the spiritual aspect versus the physical one i.e spiritual loneliness versus physical/real one. the movie is inspired by Daniel Defoe's "robinson Crusoe", where the hero goes through a tough spiritual trial on an isolated island for 20 years, an experience which embodies the maxim of "necessity is the mother of invention".

tom hanks is an employee at Fed Ex, he goes on a business trip to deliver some parcels, unfortunately the plane crashes, he miraculously survives but is thrown on an isolated island for four years. on the island he begins to search for every means to survive both spiritual and physical death. he manages to make a house, a fishing net, to light fire and finally make a boat that would take to the middle of the sea where he can find rescue.

but the movie can't just be summarized in those few words it is the battle of man against the wildness of nature and the harshness of isolation. furthermore, it is man's journey inside himself, the hero discovered his abilities and re figured his true self when he was stuck in a situation where he can't find any hand. he was a strong person who didn't give up to the difficulties surrounding him everywhere. he rather managed to maintain hope, even if it is fake, find himself a source of consolation to overcome his loneliness and fill this void, emptiness, vacuum ...etc, he , thus, invented the character of "wilson", kept communicating with the picture of his beloved. i think,otherwise, he would have gone mad.

when hanks goes back to his comfortable,civil life and joins his old community i felt that, may be, he is more lonely than he was on the island, then come the final scene to confirm my feelings. he is standing all alone at a crossroad not knowing which direction to follow or who to go to.

Robert zemeckis did an excellent job in this unique movie. the shot sizes, the camera movement, the transitions, every visual element in the picture was perfect. the cinematography was also great especially the water scenes, the lighting was so convenient for the setting of the events.

on the other side, tom hanks controlled this movie from the beginning to the end; though he scarcely spoke throughout the movie his performance was outstanding in addition to the physical effort he exerted in many scenes. it was very intelligent to make him lose a lot of weight, since he stayed four years on the island eating only crabs and coconuts.

i remember the scene when hanks kept switching the lighter on and off several times after he came home, which sharply contrasts with the suffering he has gone through to light fire on the island. as for the final scene between Helen hunt and hanks, i found hunt so cold, just didn't like her.

to cut it short, the movie was a masterpiece
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A wonderfully silent drama with Hanks and Wilson spiritually sensational
Stampsfightclub12 October 2007
At the turn of the millennium technology started to get bigger and better. Films were starting to develop in a way that was never predicted, but so did the actors. After watching Robert Zemeckis' Forrest Gump 1994, I thought I had seen a true drama, but that was clearly only the beginning.

Tom Hanks (Big, Forrest Gump) stars in his Oscar nominated performance as Chuck Noland, a Fed Ex executive who is stranded on an isolated island after a thunderous plane crash.

When doing background research on this film, I was surprised to see that Russell Crowe had beaten Hanks to the Oscar in 2001. As good as Crowe was in Gladiator, I personally thought Hanks made the most sensational performance of his career here. Hanks' character Noland is truly remarkable. From being a comfortable and hard working executive at home with his long time girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt), to being an isolated figure in different circumstances. The change in character allows Hanks to express his full acting potential and dive deep within the soul of the character. It is a true battle of human intelligence and human power that Hanks does so well to give and some scenes really got to me, it is such a powerful role and does well to rival his other Oscar wins.

The text's semiotics are remarkably significant. Having left the wreckage of the plane with only a few supplies, Noland builds himself around what he can salvage and none is more recognizable, than Wilson. A silent volleyball, which was encoded into Cast Away so Hank's could use dialogue to express his traumatic emotions.

The plot is made exciting through various scenes. The plane crash is very dramatic and beautifully directed by Zemeckis and scenes shot on the island, when Hanks is alone and wandering what to do are silent and chilling, justifying the drama genre.

The beautiful island is contradicted by the drastic situation, a truly magnificent incentive.

The ending too is wonderful as it paves the way for many possibilities

a spellbinding film
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When you haven't got anywhere, all you've got is nowhere
DAVID SIM13 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Cast Away was Tom Hanks' second film with director Robert Zemeckis. The last time they collaborated was on the 1994 multi-Oscar winner Forrest Gump. I must admit I was never exactly a huge fan of Forrest Gump, despite being a great admirer of Zemeckis' work. It was a film that painted a rather naive portrait of America and its relationship with the common man. And the special effects (however impressive they might have been) were only a nifty selling-point to wow the Academy award winning crowd. One of the most commercially calculated and overrated films ever made.

Happily, Zemeckis seems to have learnt from his mistakes with Forrest Gump. Because Cast Away is a much more accomplished piece of storytelling. A fascinating portrayal of a man cut off from civilisation, and when he finally returns to it, he's just as shipwrecked. This is the type of film Tom Hanks should be winning Oscars for. Because the film rests entirely on his shoulders. And best of all, there's none of the false optimism that plagued Forrest Gump.

Hanks plays FedEx Express worker Chuck Noland. He is a man who lives and dies by the clock. Always on the go. One minute he's sorting out packaging schedules in Russia. The next he's delivering much needed vaccines in Malaysia. Its a hectic lifestyle, and one that doesn't leave a lot of time for a social life.

Nonetheless, Chuck is in a happy relationship with girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt), even though she gets exasperated when they can't even finish a dinner date because his damn beeper goes off. And that's exactly what happens on Christmas Eve. After he's just proposed to Kelly, he's called away for a job. At the airport, he tells her "I'll be right back." Famous last words.

The plane he is on is caught in a storm, and dive-bombs into the ocean. Chuck survives in an inflatable life-raft, just barely, and is washed ashore on an island. Now all alone, Chuck must gather every resource at his disposal to survive. To make it through to the next day.

Cast Away is an outstanding film. One of the great survivalist tales you'll ever see. Robert Zemeckis' direction has never been so astute and intelligent. In fact for my money, Cast Away may be the best film yet to emerge from Zemeckis' mostly excellent body of work.

Before we even get to the island, there are the scenes of the plane crash and Chuck's valiant voyage in his rubber dinghy. The crash is a tour de force of action and effects work. Zemeckis shoots it in a series of frenzied camera angles and jolting close-ups. Its a startling scene, so affecting for its suddenness. And the scene where Chuck nearly gets shredded by an out of control engine turbine stays in the memory and doesn't easily fade.

Only for Zemeckis to outdo himself by staging the equally striking scenes of Chuck in his boat, caught in the ravages of a fierce thunderstorm. And its a brutal scene of frightening imagery. A scene of almost complete darkness, illuminated only by flashes of lightning, highlighting the tiny speck of Chuck and his boat on the vast ocean.

But its when we get to the island that Cast Away really opens up. Zemeckis' direction is clipped and concise. He never shows us more than what we need (and want) to see. The film goes through the motions of Chuck's trials and tribulations. But there's an almost terrifying immediacy to these scenes. Some of them are only about ten seconds in length. Little interconnected vignettes.

Chuck writing HELP in the sand. Shouting for help to no-one in particular. Spending his first night on the island surrounded by the sounds of crashing waves and bird-calls. Exploring the summit of the island. Gathering washed up FedEx packages for supplies. Cracking open a coconut (something that takes a very, very, very long time). Fishing. Sheltering in caves. Cutting himself. Bleeding. And the monumental feeling of ecstasy Chuck feels when he makes a fire for the first time.

Tom Hanks really turns in one of his finest performances here. Certainly his best since Big (another film he should have won an Oscar for). What makes his performance all the more impressive is its almost in complete silence. Which makes his isolation seem even more potent and poignant. And a little eerie too.

Zemeckis also comes up with an unusual method to draw upon Chuck's slowly unravelling mental state. A volleyball that washed ashore too. A volleyball Chuck names Wilson. It becomes like a character in the story. Its Chuck's only companion, and as he feels affection for this inanimate object, you'll find you will too.

Zemeckis constantly keeps coming up with grander and grander developments. None more shocking than when the film flashes forward four years and Chuck is much more lean and hardened by his experiences. Tom Hanks deserves some commendation for losing so much weight for the role.

And his method of escape is clever. Building a makeshift raft from timbers and using a portable toilet cover washed ashore as a sail, Chuck overcomes crashing waves and turbulent storms in his fragile craft to get home. The scene where he loses Wilson is a moment of surprising poignancy. Watching him float further and further away. Ultimately Chuck is saved. But the story doesn't end there.

Once Chuck is home safe and sound, he finds the world has moved on without him. Kelly has remarried, and Chuck is unsure of his place anymore. The ending is bravely not a happy one. There is something very bittersweet to Chuck's sudden salvation crashing into harsh reality.

If you haven't seen Cast Away, you're missing out on a modern classic. An expertly crafted tale of survival that's enthralling from beginning to end.
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No Q&A here
angelthomas28 October 2012
If you are looking for a life-lesson, this movie stubbornly refuses to teach you anything.

It modestly shows what you already know: You will give up almost anything just to live, because you're human and humans are survivalists.

It carefully hides what you normally look for in a life-lesson story: what makes life worthwhile? What reward is there for all the pain and toil you may have suffered in the name of survival? That's exactly why this movie could be most uplifting to watch AND AT SAME TIME brutally honest about the human situation.

There would always be some book, some authority, some self-appointed life coach along to show you: this is how life works, this is the meaning of life, this is the big answer; and it's almost inevitable you fall for those at some point. What normally happens is you try to live the way they tell you, fulfilling some goals failing most, finally become disappointed in their "big answer". Confused and cynical, you move on to the next stage of your life.

Yet you still struggle, you still try, for something you know absolutely nothing about, with no logical reasons to ever achieve anything. All the while, life beacons you on with mystery and you cannot help but to walk on.

This move is a commentary on life, on humans. Those who thought this movie is "ambiguous" are perhaps looking for a life "Q&A". I can assure you, you would find no answers here.
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At the edge of the world, his journey begins.
Jessica Carvalho20 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Chuck Noland is a FedEx employee who lives his life as a workaholic, always working and missing many important dates, for the sadness of his girlfriend Kelly Frears. One Christmas night, when he needs to work, he becomes the only survivor of a harrowing plane crash.

Alone in an island, the poor Chuck needs to be creative and learn how to survive in the exotic place, having many difficulties and problems in the beginning with basic stuff, like how to make fire or drink water from the coconuts. Chuck stays in the island during 4 years, when he decides that his only option to not die in that place, is to try to scape.

I personally like this movie a lot. The cinematography is beautiful, and you can see that many of the scenes were shot in a natural habitat.

Tom Hanks by the way, is great as always: It is incredible how much weight he lose from the beginning of the movie to the end, and also his convincing dialogs with Wilson the Volleyball, as if he was speaking with a person. (Wilson, the ball, by the way, became an idol! LoL)

And is also incredible that FedEX didn't pay anything for the director to make this movie: basically all the story only turn around about it.
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We live and we die by time. And we must not commit the sin of losing our track on time.
Spikeopath24 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Jetting off on yet another important task, FedEx whizzer Chuck Noland leaves his girlfriend Kelly Frears (Helen Hunt) behind just before Christmas. Disaster strikes during the flight and the plane crashes into the ocean. Managing to free himself from the sinking jet, Noland is washed up on an uninhabited island. Without basic modern comforts and fighting solitude daily, Noland must live in hope that one day he might be saved before he loses his mind or the will to live.

Tom Hanks (Noland) re-teams with director Robert Zemeckis after their hugely successful collaboration on 1994 awards stealer, Forrest Gump. Though Cast Away didn't win any awards (the usual cry of it being Oscar bait had preceded it) it can be argued to be Hanks' best performance. Few actors in the modern era could carry the film the way that Hanks does. Beguiling and drawing us into his loneliness, Hanks, with minimal dialogue (his only company being a volleyball that washed up with a few other FedEx parcels) excels with facial and bodily acting. Zemeckis, who should be applauded for the middle section and the terrifying plane crash that precedes it, puts Hanks' Noland through the mangler. The convenience of said parcels washing ashore aside, Noland is bumped bruised and dentally challenged, the Robinson Crusoe clichés exist of course, but Zemeckis and a heartfelt Hanks put us there on the island as well, with a pat on the back due for the excellent work by the sound department I might add.

Sadly Cast Away is bookended by not so great work. The opening character introductions are unremarkable but just about good enough for the plot set up, but the ending lacks emotional punch and defies what has been built up. Things aren't helped by Helen Hunt's lack of chemistry with Hanks, but that in turn is not helped by the writing from William Broyles Jr. since it's only really now that it's Noland that we care about. It's a bit churlish to complain too much though, because Zemeckis kept us on the island with Chuck, there was no cutting back to grieving family or fruitless rescue attempts. With that it was a truly fine one man show, even if that is something that ultimately renders the ending something of a let down. 7.5/10
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An endearing love story
glenn_mcwhirter23 July 2013
I have seen this film 5 times. Recently got the Blue Ray version. I am not going to go into the narrative much. Others have done that already. A Mr everybody gets into a situation no one would ever want to endure. Not much dialogue, not a lot of action, but a story of human spirit and survival. Tom Hanks, I praise you as the Jimmy Stewart of our time. C No land.

Just wanted to say the ending never leaves me dry eyed. And a line from the film has always got me through difficult times. "I know what I've got to do. I've got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will come up …and you never know what the tide might bring in." This is a fantastic film about never giving up.
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Cast Away Review
nsmith-601273 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The film Cast Away centralizes its focus on a FedEx employee Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), who is the sole survivor of an airplane crash only to be stranded on an island that is drastically off-course. Throughout Chuck's extended stay on the deserted island he battles isolation, depravity, and the will to survive. After Chuck realizes he may never be found he battles the island both emotionally and physically in hopes of one day seeing his lover Kelly Frears (Helen Hunt) again. Even though Chuck is faced with disparaging odds, he manages to accomplish great feats while maintaining his sense of humor and his drive to survive.

The major theme in the film is the importance of relationships. Throughout the film, this theme was repeatedly highlighted in various scenes. For instance, every night Chuck would fall asleep while staring at the pocket watch Kelly had given him with her photo in it, and in other scenes the camera would focus on the cave walls where he stayed, revealing the multiple pictures of Kelly's face that Chuck had drawn. Furthermore, as Chuck battles the crushing isolation of being helplessly alone his desperation for communication and a relationship begins to show when he begins to build companionship with a volleyball, that he names Wilson.

The bond between Chuck and Wilson becomes so strong that in a certain scene Chuck becomes angry at Wilson and throws him out of the cave only to rush out to the beach desperately trying to find him and apologize. Chuck's sanity wavers as the time on the island stretches longer and as his hope begins to fade; but with the help of his bond with Wilson, Chuck is able to talk through his struggles both physical and emotional, as Wilson seems to represent the rational side of Chuck's personality. Similar to the Life of Pi, Cast Away has a sense of dread and isolation that battle with the will of survival with metaphoric companions.

There are several techniques the director of Cast Away, Robert Zemeckis uses that amplify the feelings and settings in the film to its viewers. The camera angles that were used in multiple scenes were able to allow viewers to grasp the perils of Chuck's situation of being stranded on the island. In one scene the camera was angled downward as Chuck leaned over the edge to retrieve rope at the island's highest peak, this angle showed the danger of the task at hand for Chuck but also conveyed the intensity and tension of the moment. Another scene that used angling was when Chuck was attempting to start a fire again, the camera switched back and forth between Chuck's sweat covered face and the two pieces of wood he was using in his attempt to make an ember. With each shift between Chuck's face and the action of rubbing the sticks together the camera zoomed in closer on his face with each shot. This technique created a shared feeling of tension between the Chuck and the film viewers.

Another technique that was used was lighting, in many night scenes where Chuck was in the cave the screen was almost black and all that was view-able was the outline of Chucks face or body due to the faint moon beam the trickled in through the small opening at the top of the cave. In another scene, the cave was tinted with the glow of a fire that Chuck had created, as he uses the orange glow to view his swollen gums on the blade of an ice skate. Both dark scenes and even those lit by fire produce a feeling of solitude for the film viewer that instills the feeling of isolation.

Ultimately Cast Away is a story of never ending hope that is riddled with gut- wrenching scenes and depicts the human nature and its need for companionship and relationships. The old saying "you never know what you have until its gone" is amplified in this film as Chuck's love for Kelly never fades throughout his perilous journey.
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Touchy and brilliant....
Ricardo Mokwena19 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the few films that really got me emotionally involved.I am not the type of person to cry when watching a movie but I found myself sensitively affected at the end of this movie.Courtesy of 'Robert Zemeckis' who really has a talent of emotionally drawing in the audience with his style of directing.One other thing that increased the success of the message behind this movie is the music score composed by 'Alan Silvestri' which is so sad at the times it does occur.

However it was the films notable lack of sound score and sound effects that really closes you in which was done to re-enforce the feeling of isolation.It works really well and it will emotionally drain you.This is a well crafted tale of a man imprisoned on an island where he is free to do as he pleases but is been shut off from human contact,gadgets,electricity and all the necessary objects needed by man today to survive.

The film follows a style which many filmmakers are afraid to attempt,which is that of a film depending on one character.A style which was later seen in 'Gravity' by 'Alfonso Cuaron'.It works well in 'Cast Away' with 'Tom Hanks' as 'Chuck Noland' in the lead.It takes a well experienced actor to make this kind of film style to work and it rarely occurs in movies as filmmakers find it rather too risky'.This is the element that gives 'Cast Away' its raw realistic feel and it hits you hard.

The other sad and touchy thing about this film is the fact that 'Chuck Noland' was engaged to be married to 'Kelly Frears' played by 'Holly Hunter' just before his plane crashes.The whole point of his survival depends on his love of Kelly and wanting to return home to be with her.He does return four years later and only to find that Kelly has moved on and married someone else.This puts the final nail on the coffin!The filmmakers here explore the element of true love and a mans decision to be unaltered even by circumstances beyond his control and its amazing.

Do not expect over the edge entertainment but rather a deep sad story of survival,love and humanity.Keep the tissues handy.
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Definitely a favourite
tay-sedai21 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Cast Away stars Tom Hanks and, more importantly, a very special volleyball, a.k.a. my beloved Wilson. I love this movie because it's dramatic and inspiring but also because it's not utterly swamped down with swells of dramatic music. In fact, the whole time Hanks's character is on the island, there is no music, and this actually has a profound and unique effect. Don't get me wrong, I love a good soundtrack, but sometimes I think that there is definite overkill with music in scenes that don't necessarily need it.

I loved seeing the slow, forced transformation of Hanks's character throughout the movie. He went from sort of chubby, overworked and neglectful of his health to this hardened survivor with a huge, bushy beard. He even has to knock his own abscessed tooth out on his own, when back home he had the opportunity to go to the dentist and have painkillers and do it the "easy" way.

The only spot where some people feel this movie fell down was the ending, where Hanks's character makes it back to the US and his true love. But to be honest I think the ending was great. I don't believe it was an overdone Hollywood ending, and it also gave me hope for Hanks's character's future. It helps that he didn't get back with his love, because she had moved on with a family of her own. I actually found it quite wrenching.

All in all, I think this is a really well done movie. And I still love Wilson.
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Man VS. nature
Boba_Fett113818 May 2003
This is the only movie were you actually get emotional attached to a volleyball!

The movie starts of real good. We see Hanks as a guy that is always hasted and always have to beat the clock. When he strands on the Island (after an amazingly shot plane crash) he all of the sudden has all the time of the world and the movie turns into a man VS. nature battle were both challenge each other.

The are lot's of scene's were nothing really happens and are really slow but it never gets boring! And that's the power of this film.

Hanks once again shows his talent and he definitely is my favorite actor of this moment. Zemeckis directing, Burgess cinematography and some nice special effect and make up also do good to this movie.

My only points of critic: The time on the Island is to short, it last only about 1/3 of the movie and I really wanted to see more of Hanks on the Island because those are definitely the best scene's. Another thing, the movie is maybe a bit over dramatized at some moments. But oh well...

In a way a must see.

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A Tom Hanks vehicle with Hanksisms, Hanky writing, Hanky melodrama
Flagrant-Baronessa16 December 2006
Tom Hanks stars as time-obsessed FedEx executive Chuck Noland who literally lives by the clock, even when spending time with his girlfriend (Helen Hunt) during the holidays. On Christmas Eve his beeper calls him to catch a last-minute FedEx flight to Malasya for official business and he waves "I'll be right back" before he boards. Then his plane crashes in the Pacific and Chuck is indefinitely marooned on a desert island, with only a volleyball as his company.

I have huge affection for 'desert island' premises and subscribe to the thinking that whatever you do with the execution, it will still be a wonderful experience. It simply cannot go wrong. It does not go wrong in 'Cast Away' either – although I would have loved to see more exploration of the lush island jungle – in fact, its island sequences are all golden. The only problem this film has is the lachrymose final act in which Hanks fades and director Zemeckis pulls up the directing chair and starts pouring in relations-melodrama to sew things together.

Everything up until this rote lukewarm point is well-crafted with patient strokes, courtesy of the film's protagonist. Tom Hanks, who put forward the idea for the film to Forrest Gump-pal Zemeckis, is in nearly every scene and carries so much dramatic weight, effortless leading man appeal and sympathy-laden charisma that he sucks you in entirely. Initially I applied some skepticism to judging his businessman character and it was not until the vivid, epileptic plane crash sequence that he started to absorb me. As the airplane was sinking into the deep blue with Chuck trapped inside (I can't imagine anything more frightening), you knew, judging by how much you were pulling for him, that he was our hero. This is man vs. nature at its best.

Upon waking up on the beach of the stormy desert island, Chuck is faced with some of the weapons mother nature has in her arsenal: you can feel the energy being slowly drained out of him during the first couple of days as he struggles to crack coconuts, find water, build shelter, make fire, catch fish and tend to his wounds. Insanity sweeps across the shore and Hanks aptly embodies the hard-edged, blood-spilled, sweat-dripping, tear-shedding transformation of a time-driven businessman to a primitive instinct-driven maroon. It is eerily crafted with an harmonic silence and sans your dutiful MacGyveresque inventions, scaffolds or nifty tools. Here is a mere man, seen through epic aerial shots and with underlying subtitles that spell out "desperation" and "loneliness", both of which Hanks assuredly and crisply exemplifies.

So then, what is really wrong with 'Cast Away'? Nothing – aside from marginal missteps – is wrong with the cast away part, it's the ending that that is not in-tune once Zemeckis wields his clear-cut, spelled-out and moralist trademarks. I refuse to spoil anything (mostly because I remember the film having been spoiled to me long before I sat down to watch it), just rest assured you will be begging to be taken back to the exciting island.

7 out of 10
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Tomorrow the sun will rise...
Dario_Gino18 September 2008
My only major beef I had with this movie was the way it was marketed. Thanks to the trailers and previews to the film, we knew that Chuck Noland would in fact be rescued from the island. However, even with that said, the previews didn't really spoil the movie. Though it would have made the message(s) that much more powerful if they didn't give that much of it away. Tom Hanks is Chuck Noland; A FedEx efficiency engineer who flies around the world at a moments notice to troubleshoot whatever problems the company is having at any given place. Helen Hunt plays his loving girlfriend / fiancé, Kelly, who is very understanding of Chuck Noland's plight. One day, just before Christmas, Chuck is called away to Malaysia. This is when Chuck Noland's life takes a sudden and dramatic turn as his plane (most realistically) crashes into the ocean. As the only survivor, he washes up on shore of a small, isolated island in the south Pacific. This is a film that really forces the viewer to relate to the main character. On the surface, Chuck is not a guy most people would relate to; He has a high paying job which he actually seems to enjoy on some level, and a girlfriend he is completely in love with. His life is as good as it can get up until the tragic plane crash. Now his life is turned upside down as he struggles to find the basic needs of survival. There are no cuts to the rescue efforts, no "meanwhile, back in Memphis" scenes. It's all Chuck on the island for the second act of the film. There are four basic needs of survival. Most people know about the first three: Food, Water and Shelter. Chuck realizes that companionship is really the fourth need, which he finds in the form of a vollyball he calls "Wilson". The acquisition of food, water and shelter are all epic struggles for Chuck Noland as we see him try to break open coconuts with rocks and make fire to cook crabs. We suffer with him as he does his own dental work. This goes on for four years... Finally, one day a piece of metal (from the plane?) washes up on the island and it gives Chuck an idea of how to escape. He builds a raft out of Coconut trees and uses the piece of metal as a sail to escape from the island. He spends several days out on the ocean hoping to be rescued. Along the way, he losses his only friend of the last four years, Wilson, in a strange but very emotional scene. Shortly thereafter, on the brink of death from dehydration, he is rescued. In any other movie, this would be the happy ending. But this is not any other movie. Chuck finds that Kelly has moved on with her life. And now he must find a way to move on with his. When he first arrived on the island, he only needed to find ways to physically survive, but now rescued, he needed to find ways how to emotionally survive in a world that moved on without him. The final scene, just before the credits roll, reveals the most powerful moral I have ever seen in a movie. This is a film that proves that no matter how much suffering, pain, or tragedy that someone may go through, their life will always be worth living. And it does so without invoking religion or astrology or any other kind of pseudoscience. This is a moral and spiritual film that all people can relate to in some way or another.
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