Cast Away2000 | Movie

Cast & Crew  |  Review

It's hard to know what to make of a movie in which the hero ponders a metaphorical crossroads in his life while standing at a literal crossroads. Insipid or inspired? The problem with Robert Zemeckis's visually and viscerally eye-p… (more)

Released: 2000

Rating: PG-13

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Reviewed by Frank Lovece
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It's hard to know what to make of a movie in which the hero ponders a

metaphorical crossroads in his life while standing at a literal crossroads.

Insipid or inspired? The problem with Robert Zemeckis's visually and

viscerally eye-punching Robinson Crusoe tale is that you can't say for

sure. Could the movie really be as thematically trite as an inspirational

office poster? Or is it an admirably stripped-down examination of

the ancestral essence of being human? FedEx troubleshooter Chuck Noland

(Tom Hanks) doesn't worry about such Big Questions. He's airlifted into Moscow

and other emerging capitalist hot-spots when local operations are absolutely,

positively running from that tireless hunter: time. (It's allegorical! Get

it?) Summoned on Christmas to make an emergency run, Chuck leaves his

fiancée Kelly (Helen Hunt) with the promise that he'll return on New

Year's Eve. Cue a perfect storm: Chuck and a FedEx jet crew lose radio contact

and crash into the Pacific Ocean in a truly harrowing, you-are-there disaster

sequence. This is no film for the squeamish, particularly after Chuck and a few FedEx packages wash up on an unnamed, utterly uninhabited island (Fiji's

Monukiri and Mana, actually). Almost everything, from what Chuck's forced to

eat to his horror at the consequences of a desert-island toothache, is

accompanied by all the blood and guts left over from SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Add

in Chuck's deteriorating hold on sanity — evinced by the inspired conceit

of his relationship with a volleyball on which he's drawn a face — and

you have a long middle section of bravura filmmaking. But once Chuck gets

home, the film turns anticlimactic and emotionally nil, and there's a

startling lack of chemistry between Hanks and an unimpressive Hunt.

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