Castaway (2000)

Cast Away seems like an impossible movie to make. The plot would take many movie-makers down the road of stereotypes and implausibility. Part A; an everyday man’s life (everyday in the sense of a workaholic who’s life is scheduled to the minute), Part B; the four years he spends marooned on a deserted island, and Part C; his reintegration into civilization.

I guess I should have said “spoiler alert”. But I really hate that phrase. You should have already seen this movie anyway. Not my fault.

In part A, in preparation for his role, Tom Hanks didn’t exercise and allowed himself to become “pudgy”. After the first part of the movie was filmed, they stopped filming for a year so he could lose fifty pounds and let his hair grow out for the scenes on the island.

That kind of dedication and self control permeate this movie. Thus comes the realism. Example: for the entire time on the island, there is no musical soundtrack. What better way to add to the desolation of the island than with silence?

While Tom Hanks is on the island, his fiance (Helen Hunt) assumes he is dead and moves on with her life, getting married and starting a family (oops, uh, “spoiler alert”. I need to work on my timing!). How that situation is handled in a way where the characters stay true to themselves and to their current lives, and still achieve happiness, is proof of a brilliant screenplay.

The crash sequence in the ocean is stunning. I watched this again while we were in the Dominican Republic. Not the best scene to watch when you are days away from a flight over water. That doesn’t bother me. I am a man. I just have a little problem with anthropomorphism. Who doesn’t?

Speaking of anthropomorphism (how about that segue!), and keeping with today’s island theme, below is a recent picture of my sock puppet, Pip, in the Dominican Republic with Jenny. After the beach, he was accidentally left in the rental car when it was brought back to the airport! Fortunately, Lindsay found him the next day when she was taking a friend to the airport, and she was looking for some lost pesos. Poor Pip, alone all night in the car!

Tom Hanks is of course, brilliant. It is hard to imagine another actor making me get teary-eyed as I watch the scene where he loses his soccer ball, Wilson (Oh, and I suppose you weren’t teary-eyed at that scene?).

Wilson! Wilson! Pip! Pip! Pesos!

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9 thoughts on “Castaway (2000)

  1. While this isnt one of my favorite movies, I love seeing the dedication that Tom Hanks has. Even though he doesnt lose 50 pounds in every movies he makes, he has the same dedication and ability to adopt the subtleties that would naturally come to a person in that situation. Not my favorite movie, but certainly one of my favorite actors. Great review!!

  2. Hi Mike,

    My favorite part about the movie, well, ONE of my favorite parts besides the do it yourself dentistry is the symbolism in the scenes. Especially at the end, the standing at the cross roads is very much like a story I read a long time ago entitled “The lady and the tiger”. It’s up to you to decide the ending. No cries for sequels, no hang ups, just a well written movie…. A jewel in the movie world

  3. Simply put, one of the best films ever made- and that’s putting it really simple! How one actor can hold his own (close-ups, pauses, stares and all )and still keep your eyes so glued someone has to remind you to blink…sheer genius! Yes I cried its true, yet somehow the ending scene leaves me with a deep sense of satisfaction and amidst all the pain you find the moral: (We don’t know what our lives will be tomorrow… but as long as we ARE alive, anything can happen.)

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