Cast Away (2000)
The second teaming of success director Robert Zemeckis and the arguably biggest movie star of the 1990s, Tom Hanks, didn't turn out quite as successful as its predecessor. The elements which made Forrest Gump so special, such as the creative form or the rich emotional spectre, are missing from Cast Away - a film that should have made more of an impact than it does.
Nobody can blame Hanks, however. He more than does his share, giving a completely devoted performance in which he is able to make Chuck Noland believable both as a high-strung business executive, a desperate plane crash survivor, a skilled and experienced Robinson Crusoe, and an understanding and quietly tormented man of hard-learned wisdom. The segments from the riveting plane crash and spanning Chuck's entire stay on his deserted island are easily the film's best. We live Chuck's ups and downs with him, and get to see the transformation on his part from a civilized ill-placed man to a pragmatic, instinctive hunter. There are some great scenes here, most of which are all Hanks' achievement. Zemeckis' work, on the other hand, is too controlling. He doesn't give us enough space to breathe and feel for ourselves, making Cast Away emotionally truncated and impressive mainly on a pragmatic level.
In the end, there is too much message involved in the film's prolonged denouement. In my book, Chuck wouldn't have to have been the personified time-consumer in order for us to see that most anyone today could benefit from slowing down a pace. And the scenes between Hanks and Hunt towards the end, while valid and well-conceived, might well have been more effective were they played out in our heads. Cast Away is an engaging film which is easy to relate to, but which unfortunately doesn't really make us change our busy schedule.