Projections - Movie Reviews

Cast Away Cast Away

Tom Hanks has such skill it is easy to believe he's our next door neighbor or, in this case, an aggressive Fed Ex supervisor who attentively manages and trains staff to deliver the goods on time.  Along with Director Robert Zemeckis (Forest Gump), Cast Away comes with high expectations, and leaves us disappointed.

Cast Away has powerful moments as Hanks' Chuck Noland battles to survive on a picturesque deserted island in the South Pacific.  We see Chuck battle wounds received from cuts on coral and sticks used to search for fire as he battles four lonely years with only a volley ball named Wilson to talk to.  Chuck is a hero both from inside and outside: he saves his psyche and his body by adapting and surviving and we are moved by his strength.  We may even be transformed by his experience.

As he did in Contact, Zemeckis builds us up far too slowly, and we quickly begin to find prolonged discussions with a volley ball, numerous rain storms and attention to wounds overbearing and uninteresting.  The quest for fire loses our interest when it takes more than real time to succeed.  On the other hand Chuck's sorting and opening the Fed Ex packages as they arrive on the island provide an interesting break both for the character and us.

While Zemeckis prolongs scenes, he fails to explain the reason for the plane crash and never gives us insight into the search which must have taken place.  As the flight begins to hit rough weather, Chuck finds himself in the rest room removing a bandage from his thumb, suddenly he is back in the cabin and the plane is breaking up and we wonder why the sudden cut from the men's room to the middle of a crash sequence which has no transition and appears to be a mistaken cut.

At the end we find ourselves, back to the beginning at the cross roads in Texas, in a situation with great promise, but Zemeckis robs us of a clear ending and all the potential and strength of Hanks' performance is deflated.

Cast Away

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