Movie Review: Cast Away

Details: More information can be found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0162222/

Score: 8/10

So I’m stuck in quarantine like a lot of the world and Cast Away just popped on the television. I don’t if it’s because I’ve been stuck at home for the last few weeks, but this movie hit me a lot harder than it did the last time I watched it.

Cast Away is about a man who is stranded on an island following a plane crash. He spends years there and must come to terms with his new life alone.

There are just so many things about this movie that are great. This could’ve been a really boring film, but the plot elements introduced and the acting of its lead, Tom Hanks, elevate everything. This is almost a two and a half hour movie and we spend the majority of it with Tom Hanks. There are no other characters. Just coming up a with a story with a single character that keeps an audience interested is a challenge, and they did just that.

One of the things that is most surprising is the amount of humor in this film. The movie goes through our protagonists transformation from a person from society to the man who is utterly alone. He must survive alone. He must figure out all these things to somehow survive on this island. More often than not, the process is a hilarious one.

With that said, the movie is profoundly sad. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been locked in my house with people dying all over the world from the Coronavirus that the movie had such an impact on me, but I felt it. The protagonist is utterly alone and is constantly dealing with such a deep depression. You can see the transformation is Tom Hanks’ performance as he goes from this goofy middle aged man to this mentally unstable, desperate recluse. It’s so sad and so believable. Especially at this time in the real world, it becomes that much more believable. Tom Hanks puts in an incredible performance.

Also worth mentioning is just the cinematography and planning of the whole thing. It’s impressive and creative. For instance, during the film, Tom Hanks’ character forms a relationship with a volleyball named Wilson. He’s kind of losing his mind. Interestingly enough, whenever Tom Hanks has dialogue with Wilson, the camera pans back and forth from Wilson to Tom Hanks, just like how dialogue is normally portrayed in films. It’s particularly hilarious because Wilson is just a volleyball. He has no dialogue. Yet whenever Tom Hanks talks to Wilson, the camera will pan to Wilson, just for a moment and just long enough for it to be both funny and sad. It’s funny because it’s a volley ball. It’s sad because the protagonist is losing his mind.

Overall, the film is one that will go into the film history books. This is due to Hanks’ performance, the creative story that made monotony interesting to watch, and the creative film making that somehow kept audiences interested in watching a single actor perform for over two hours. I think what stayed with me though is the hopeful tone that permeated a profoundly sad experience.

Here’s the scene that encapsulates that feeling. If you haven’t seen the movie, maybe don’t watch this to spoil yourself.

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