Wednesday, June 20, 2012

#674. Cast Away (2000)

Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Paul Sanchez

Tag line: "At the edge of the world, his journey begins"

Trivia:  Actual lines of dialogue were written for Wilson the Volleyball, to help Hanks have a more natural interaction with the inanimate object

Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is Federal Express’s most enthusiastic employee. His job as a quality control manager takes him all over the world, but during a trip to Malaysia, disaster strikes when the plane Chuck is traveling on is hit by lightning and crashes into the sea. The lone survivor of the ordeal, Chuck is lucky enough to make his way to a small, deserted island, where he must learn to endure without any of life's luxuries (or basic necessities) to assist him. Relying on his surroundings and a handful of Fed-Ex packages that also washed up on shore, Chuck slowly adapts to his new home. Yet returning to civilization is never far from Chuck’s mind, and he longs for a chance to rekindle his relationship with Kelly (Helen Hunt), the girlfriend who, before the tragedy, was about to become his fiancé.

In Cast Away, Tom Hanks delivers what is easily one of his finest performances, rivaling even his Award-winning turn in Forrest Gump. As the film begins, Hanks' Chuck is arrogant, brash, and ambitious; a gung-ho, dedicated Fed-Ex middle-manager. Of course, none of these traits do him much good once he's stranded on the island. In fact, there are more than a few ironies Chuck must deal with when he's marooned in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. For starters, the demands of his job made Chuck a slave to the clock. In an early scene, he’s reading the riot act to a group of under-performing carriers in Russia, screaming “We never, ever allow ourselves the sin of losing track of time!”. Suddenly cut off from the world he knows, Chuck can no longer tell you what day it is. Back home, Fed-Ex meant everything to him, and his commitment to it was unmatched. We hear the same story told several times about how, while working as a young delivery boy, his truck broke down, forcing Chuck to “borrow” a boy’s bicycle in order to complete his deliveries. But now that he's facing a life-or-death situation, Chuck quickly learns dedication is not the key to endurance. He continually eyes the Fed-Ex parcels, and at first respects their confidentiality. But realizing they may contain items that could make his life alone a bit easier, he soon opens them. We watch as Chuck’s priorities gradually change, and with only his thoughts (and a volley ball) to keep him company, he’s finally growing as an individual, not an employee, and surviving any way he can.

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