Cast Away Dvd

Written by Sarah Provost
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Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemekis, may not be a perfect film, but it's about as good as movies get. The framing devices at the beginning and the end, though necessary, lose luster in comparison with the bravura middle section. Nothing in this story of a man's survival, physical and emotional, owes anything to any other source.

Chuck Noland lives a life measured by time. As a FedEx problem solver exec, he's willing to dash off anywhere on a moment's notice. Then his plane, headed for Malaysia, goes off course and crashes in a truly terrifying scene. Chuck washes up on an uninhabited island, where it seems he'll have all the time in the world--the rest of his life.

Cast Away amazes by its willingness to do away with every cliche in the shipwreck genre. Noland doesn't have to battle tigers, but his struggle to open a coconut shell is an equally harrowing fight for survival. Primitive dentistry is a whole lot scarier than hordes of unfriendly natives. Hanks holds the screen for 75 minutes, without another actor to play off or even a musical soundtrack. His adoption of a volleyball as a friend is a brilliant move by screenwriter William Broyles Jr. It's a device to allow Hanks to talk out loud, but it's also an integral part of the story, and there's more pathos when "Wilson" is lost than many movies can generate by the death of a saint or a crippled child.

Ending at a Crossroads

When Noland escapes after four years of total isolation, the movie isn't over. He returns to his old life, including his beloved fiancee Kelly (Helen Hunt). She's adjusted to his presumed death, and he has a lot of adjusting to do to fit into his previous role in the world. The film tries to avoid an easy ending, but leaving the audience unsettled may not have been the best choice.


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