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Sun, sand and stranded

by Archives January 10, 2001
If you have ever thought about what you would like to have with you on a desert island, the movie Cast Away makes you think again. The strangest things can be useful, like a pair of figure skates.

The movie rejoins Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis from Forrest Gump, in a tale about a FedEx guy whose plane goes down in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) spends four years on a small, and amazingly bug-free island, learning to use the few resources available in the most creative ways.

For those of you who constantly complain about predictable movies, this could be one for you. Few of us have been stranded on desert islands, so it is hard to know what to expect.

In terms of storyline, this one is creative and entertaining, at least for the hour of the movie that takes place on the island. Noland fortunately finds FedEx packages washed up on shore from his wrecked plane, with treasures inside to help him survive, like ice skates and videotapes.

He also finds his only friend for the next four years, a volleyball he names Wilson (as in the name brand on the ball). This is one of the truest segments in the film.

Countless miles from anybody he has ever known and what he considers normal social atmosphere, Noland’s human nature becomes starved for interaction with another being. A gripping and heart-wrenching friendship ensues. I’m serious.

What happens on the island is fascinating. What Noland does, what he thinks, the way he struggles as a man to start a fire, get fresh water and fish is remarkable.

Unfortunately, once he leaves the island and returns home to his girlfriend who has believed him dead for four years, the whole movie goes to hell. There is nothing satisfying or remarkable about the last half-hour of the movie.

Despite this, I maintain that the movie still stands tall on its first hour. Instead of walking away disappointed by a thoroughly disappointing ending, I was still thrilled by Hanks’ performance on the island, and all the components that went with it. This is a great movie. It just would have been better if he never got off the island.

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