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FILM CRITIQUE
Cast Away

Review By: Lazarus.Long

Director: Robert Zemekis

Cast: Tom Hanks
Helen Hunt
Nick Seary
Geoffrey Blake
Chris North
Vivika Davis
Valerie Wildman

Rating: PG-13

What do a volleyball named Wilson; an undelivered Federal Express package,
coconuts, fire, and an antique pocket watch with a fading picture have in
common? They all co-star in Castaway and serve as inspiration for Chuck
Noland’s (Tom Hanks) survival in this powerful film.

Not prone to predictions, I nonetheless predict another Oscar for Tom Hanks for
his starring role in Castaway. More startling, will be The Academy’s
announcement of a new award category: Best Supporting Volleyball. Wilson is a
shoe-in.

The spirit and soul of this film are revealed in the title frame “Cast Away”
two words. Cast Away explores the limits of human frustration, despair, and
resilience. No one in today’s Screen Actor’s Guild could have revealed our own
innermost feelings as well as Tom Hanks (apologies to Sean Conery and Anthony
Hopkins). Over 70 minutes alone on the screen and there was not a boring
second, wow!

Chuck Noland, a Federal Express corporate troubleshooter, is thrown away with
the indifference so often exhibited by fate. He survives a vividly realistic
plane crash to wash up on a deserted South Pacific Island, where he exhibits
behaviours that are heroic beyond imagination, and disturbingly familiar. Four
years later, his return to a civilized world is no less disturbing – or less
heroic.

From the time he learns that his friend’s wife has cancer, to the nearly fatal
summoning of his pager, Chuck’s misgivings about his life are clear. In a minor
plot development, four years alone in despair seem to have cleared his mind,
which could be said to be a small price to pay.

Helen Hunt (Kelly Frears), Chuck’s girl friend, turns in a command performance
in Castaway’s imaginatively rich untold story: “Left Behind.” As soul mates, it
is no wonder that Chuck and Kelly arrive at the same inevitable conclusion near
the films end.

In this second pairing of director Robert Zemeckis and actor Tom Hanks, the
team has delivered another winner. Box office smash, Forrest Gump, winner of
six Oscars including Best Director and Best Actor, was their first. I believe
history will repeat.

My final recommendation? See this movie.  If you need to, get a baby sitter and
see it now.  See this movie on the big screen.

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