Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Written by: William Broyles Jr.

Starring: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Nick Searcy

Rating: [4/5]

Perseverance with no distinguishable hope makes for the greatest of people. They fight no matter the obstacle because of what it means to overcome this tribulation in their life. For the man we follow in Cast Away, it happens to be about him trying to get off an abandoned island and return home. 

Known for his ability to make any shipping process efficient, Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) gets flown to different FedEx factories to help them improve. On a trip to Malaysia, his plane crashes and he ends up on an uninhabited island. From there, he must now find a way to get back to his partner and keep his sanity. 

I’ve always enjoyed playing the game of what three things I would bring if I were stranded on an island. It displays the essential aspects of our lives, but Cast Away explains why you would need those important items to survive mentally. Chuck experiences the ultimate form of isolation where he cannot interact with any other sentient being and thus has to create one on his own. Wilson the volleyball becomes his only source of interaction and connection. The film allows the audience to form a bond with Wilson because of the great characterization of Chuck. He becomes someone we want to see succeed, which makes his interactions with Wilson heartwarming weirdly. 

Within the time of Chuck’s tenure on this island, he needs to learn a whole new way of living. No longer will he be able to order take out and have fresh food delivered right to his door. Now he must gather the food in order to survive because nothing is given and everything must be taken. It displays true resilience in the face of adversity and Tom Hanks truly committed to this role. He lost and gained the weight necessary to show the different lifestyles he has at the beginning and when he gets stuck on the island. His body changed because of the lack of food and the limited variety he has when on this isolated rock. Hanks has personified being great in his films and he accomplishes this once again with the character of Chuck. In the beginning, he shows himself to be too caught up in his work and puts everything else on the back burner. Knowing the basic plot of the story makes it all the more saddening to see the moments where he promises his partner he’ll be back when we know he’ll be stuck on an island soon enough. 

On this island, Chuck develops a whole new set of skills, which get captured in some grueling ways. The one that sticks out the most obviously comes in when he needs to take out a bothersome tooth. He positions his leveraged item on the tooth and uses another tool dislodge, which will make you wince and others may want to look away. Every activity one takes for granted in normal society becomes an incredible feat for Chuck to accomplish. 

Director Robert Zemeckis reteams with Hanks on this feature after their shared success with Forrest Gump. This film sees them take on a much smaller story as compared to the 1994 film. Instead of a story spanning several major events, the focus stays on one man and his attempts to survive and make it home. Zemeckis may be hit or miss, but his collaborations with Tom Hanks rarely disappoints. He helps establish the dangerous terrain of this island and how perilous it could be to get injured with no assistance on the way. It turns what would be a paradise for some with the beautiful sand and water into a complete nightmare. 

Watching Cast Away made me appreciate everything I have around me. You never know when you could be swept away into some island and have to survive while everyone else thinks you have died. I cannot fathom the pain and getting back to his life pushes Chuck to survive and continually find ways to beat the terrain. No matter how many times nature attempts to push him down, he gets back up. This journey makes this film something to watch if you seek some inspiration because not many challenges get worse than being stuck on an island.

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