Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Running Time: 2:20
Rated PG-13 for intense action sequences and some disturbing images.

Cast Away was an interesting movie. It was basically Tom Hanks on an island, by himself, for half the movie. I love Tom Hanks, and I could sit and watch him for days acting on an island, so I enjoyed this movie. If you're not a big Tom Hanks film, this movie may just seem to drag on.

Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a Federal Express systems engineer. One night after proposing to his girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt), Noland gets on a plane, that ends up crashing in the ocean. By a miracle, Noland washes up on the shore of an island. For the next four years of his life, he is on the island by himself. Then one day, a shell of a porta-toilet washes up on shore, and Noland is able to use it to make a makeshift boat, and brave the ocean once again. He is saved by a passing boat, and re-enters his life, only to find that the love that kept him alive, is now with another man. Then the movie ends.

That's basically the movie. He asks a woman to marry him, ends up in a plane crash, washes up on an island, 4 years later he leaves the island, and everything is different. So the only reason this movie is as compelling as it is, is one Tom Hanks. My biggest problem with the movie isn't that he's alone on screen for almost 75 minutes. It's what happens in the 75 minutes. He ends up on the island. We see him starting to deal with and understand what happened to him. Then all of a sudden it's 4 years later. Well what happened in those four years? I understand that there is no way to show everything that happens to him in those four years, otherwise the movie would be 10 hours long. But how about some flashes? In those four years, did he try to get off the island at all? Was it just one escape attempt and that's it? How many times did he try and kill himself? What did he do to try and stay somewhat sane? Were there any animals on the island? Did a plane ever fly overhead? What was so amazing about the art work on that one package, that he never bothered to open it? There were all sorts of questions that were never answered. It was just all of a sudden four years later.

Noland never really decended into madness as much as I thought he would, other than his repeated conversations with Wilson, the bloody volleyball. There was the reference to him thinking about killing himself, but even that wasn't discussed as deeply as I hoped. His whole reason for living, was the love he felt for Kelly, yet I never saw their connection before his plane crashed. They weren't married and didn't seem to see each other a lot. The relationship as portrayed on screen wasn't enough for me to believe that she was his entire world. It is possible that in order to stay alive, he built up the relationship more than it really was, but I'm not sure the movie was that deep. Once he got off the island, their relationship also seemed off. She had built a whole new life, but was still in love with Chuck. It was only with their one conversation in the rain that it came out that they were soulmates. But other than saying it, there was nothing visual to suggest it. Then the ending of the movie sort of left me wondering. It was kind of left open without a lot of explanation.

What made up for what I saw as a lack of story, was watching Tom Hanks. I don't think there is another actor out there that could have carried this film. For those 75 minutes, there was nothing but Hanks. No other person to talk to, no music in the background. Nothing but Tom and the island. Hanks has an almost magical presence that makes me at least love watching him on screen, no matter what he does. Like I said, I would have preferred seeing more of his life on the island over those four years, but what I did see, I enjoyed. His quickly sized up the situation, and tried to deal with it as best he could. Hanks is an incredible talent, easily one of the greatest actors of my lifetime. He has an ability to capture the screen when he's surrounded by other actors, but it's another feat to capture the attention of the audience, when there's no one else out there. He was left to carry an entire movie by himself. But the story that surrounded him wasn't up to his talent. I think the story could have been stronger. I think more needed to be made of Kelly and Chuck's relationship in the beginning, and less of Chuck's work with Fed Ex. I think there needed to be more of a story on the island, instead of jumping ahead four years. And then the ending seemed too quick a resolution.

Maybe the movie I want to see is really four hours long, which is why it ended up the way it did. Hopefully director Robert Zemeckis will release a director's cut on DVD in the future so I can see the movie the way it was meant to be seen. As it stands now, the movie wasn't as good as Tom Hanks was in the film. Hanks set the bar high, and the movie just couldn't reach those heights. Overall, if you want to see a great acting performance within a so-so film, take a chance with Cast Away.

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