Cast Away reunites star Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis in their first collaboration since the heavy-handed sentimentality of Forrest Gump. Thankfully, this time their film's life-affirming message is delivered with more subtlety, attributable both to an extraordinarily committed, physically demanding central performance from Hanks and to Zemeckis' technically masterful but carefully understated direction. It's also a film with three distinct "acts" or, to be old-fashioned about it, a proper beginning, middle and end. The story follows schedule-obsessed but... fulfilled FedEx supervisor Chuck Noland (Act 1) on a personal journey into the bleakest, most solitary despair (Act 2), before Helen Hunt, in the thankless role of ex-girlfriend, unwittingly allows him to glimpse an optimistic future full of untapped possibilities (Act 3). Hanks' sojourn on the island is the centrepiece, but this is no tropical island idyll: following a terrifying plane crash (the one sequence in the film where Zemeckis shows off his uncanny ability to choreograph action), life on the island is seen to be a depressing and bitter experience filled with disappointment, danger and suicidal despair. Having lost all hope of rescue, ultimately Noland's greatest test is not to survive, but to find a reason to survive. He has no Man Friday for company, just a volleyball named "Wilson" that is both a narrative device allowing Hanks to deliver dialogue and an intriguingly pagan personification of the island's spirit under whose protection Noland is finally able to summon fire (significantly, and heartbreakingly, Wilson leaves him as he regains contact with the world). In an era of MTV-style film editing, Zemeckis and Hanks fearlessly take their time establishing with total conviction the grim realities of Noland's situation, his devastating loss of hope and the means by which he achieves his escape. Like Contact before it, Cast Away is a refreshingly thoughtful piece of mainstream cinema that explores weighty existential issues but retains a warm human intimacy. On the DVD: The luminous anamorphic print with vivid Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is accompanied on the first disc by a technical commentary from Zemeckis and key crew personnel. It's plenty insightful for budding filmmakers, although for pure listening pleasure one might have preferred a more relaxed piece with just the director and Tom Hanks. The second disc includes a 30-minute making-of documentary in which the director sums up the moral of the movie--"Surviving is easy but living is difficult". This draws on material from the three other mini-documentaries about survival skills, Wilson the volleyball and the Fijian island location of Monu Riki respectively. There's also a section on the sometimes surprising use of CGI effects and a storyboard-to-film comparison sequence. Tom Hanks chats with American TV host Charlie Rose about this movie and his career in the extensive 50-minute interview. Trailers, artwork and stills round out a valuable two-disc set. --Mark Walker [show more]
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. Tom Hanks is Chuck Noland, a FedEx systems engineer whose ruled-by-the-clock existence abruptly ends when a harrowing plane crash leaves him isolated on a remote island. As Chuck struggles to survive, he finds that his own personal journey has only just begun... Actors Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Nick Searcy, Chris Noth, Lari White, Viveka Davis & Valerie WildmanDirector Robert ZemeckisCertificate 12 years and overYear 2000Screen 16:9 AnamorphicLanguages English - Dolby Digital (5.1)Additional Languages GermanSubtitles English for the hearing impaired ; German ; DutchDuration 2 hours and 18 minutes (approx)
Systems engineer Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) says goodbye to his girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt) and heads off on a flight to South America. En route the plane crashes into the Pacific Ocean, leaving Chuck as its only survivor. Luckily, there is an uninhabited island nearby and Chuck manages to swim to safety. After a failed attempt to escape on an inflatable raft, Chuck accepts that he is unlikely to get back to civilisation and begins to make the most of what he has around him. Four years later he is still on the island, having adapted extremely well to his new environment, but decides the time is right to make another attempt at the long journey home and sets off for a remarkable adventure on a makeshift wooden raft.