Friday, January 14, 2011


(December 2000, U.S.)

I knew I was going to love CAST AWAY from the moment I saw the first trailer for it. After the hit that was FORREST GUMP (1994), how could I resist the teaming up of Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis once again? I couldn't and I wasn't disappointed in the least.

The timing of this film's r release is interesting. Keeping in mind that it was developed and filmed first, it coincided with the 21st Century's first hit reality TV series, SURVIVOR, and it was highly noted by many others besides myself. The difference, of course, is that SURVIVOR is shit (ALL reality TV is!!!) and CAST AWAY presents one of the greatest challenges any actor may face; the challenge of acting against one's self. Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland is washed up on a deserted island after being the only survivor of a horrible Federal Express plane crash in the ocean. Unlike TV's LOST (a show I loved, by the way!), there are no "Others" or black smoke monsters to haunt him. There aren't even any animals. He is totally alone and must accept his life in complete isolation. Unless of course you want to count befriending and conversing with a volleyball any sort of significant relationship.

Now let's talk about the volleyball he calls "Wilson" for a moment. The first impression of his ongoing repore with this thing may be considered one of idiocy or comic relief to the film. But take a moment to consider Chuck's situation on this island and you'll come to understand how it makes absolute sense for him to develop more than just a slight case of madness. This madness completely justifies his need to address something, anything, with a little dialogue. So a volleyball with a face painted out of his own blood makes about as much valid sense as anything else might on the island. It's a fairly serious relationship when you thing about it and it's almost a shame that the entire idea from the film became a subject of inevitable comic parody.

The very last scene of the film is another worth noting in this post. Having finally survived and been rescued from the island, Chuck has now returned to the world and the reality of having lost the woman he loved before the plane crash (played by Helen Hunt). By the film's end, he's traveling alone through Texas and eventually comes to a quiet road that can take either of four directions. The symbolic relevance is more than very clear. The man's journey has come to an end, but now a new one must begin. Which road and which direction will he take? We'll never know. We shouldn't know. There are questions in film that make more sense when they're not answered.

CAST AWAY, in my opinion, was one of the ten best films of the last decade.

Favorite line or dialogue:

Chuck Noland (talking to Wilson): "We might just make it. Did that thought ever cross your brain? Well, regardless I would rather take my chance out there on the ocean, than to stay here and die on this shithole island spending the rest of my life talking to a god damn VOLLEYBALL!"

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