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Overall Rating
3.9

Awesome: 32.67%
Worth A Look41.25%
Average: 14.52%
Pretty Bad: 6.27%
Total Crap: 5.28%

18 reviews, 195 user ratings


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Cast Away
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Another box-of-chocolates life lesson from Hanks and Zemeckis."
3 stars

Robert Zemeckis, the mainstream-populist visionary who made 'Forrest Gump' and 'Contact,' is an extremely accomplished director; his problem these days is that he tries too hard to accomplish a masterpiece every time out.

Zemeckis wants to make films for the ages, fables that speak to us about us, about the mysteries of the universe. How he graduated from the pop prankster who made Used Cars, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Back to the Future to the pop shaman who has now made Cast Away is itself one of life's great mysteries. (Maybe Zemeckis will make a movie about it.)

Tom Hanks, chubby and waddling fast in a winter parka, is Chuck Noland, an efficiency guru who troubleshoots FedEx operations around the world, his voice rising in contempt at the workers' slowness. Don't they know they're FedEx? Let's go, people! Hanks embodies the sort of modern man for whom every job situation assumes the wired priority of a sucking chest wound; he plays ER in his head, and his personal life gets put in triage. He has little or no time for his girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt); rather glumly, they exchange Christmas gifts in his van before Chuck takes off on a flight to shepherd yet another vitally important shipment.

The little plane, as we all know, goes down over the ocean, and the sequence is one of the most wrenching bits of crisis ever filmed. It hits fast and hard, with no warning; even though we know it's coming, we don't feel ready for it -- we're thrown into it as rudely and abruptly as Chuck is. Zemeckis uses the technological effects at his disposal to give us each nightmarish detail of the experience right up to the impact. Afterward, when Chuck washes up on a godforsaken rocky island, the director abandons technology but still focuses on the details of Chuck's survival. Even here, Chuck is a problem-solver; he uses bits of salvaged goodies to make tools, shelter, even a friend named Wilson (a volleyball with a face rendered in blood -- a creation saved from too-cuteness by its slight Lord of the Flies aura).

To be honest, the gruelling study of Chuck's ordeal -- it spans over four years -- wore out its welcome for me after about half an hour. The built-in problem with movies like this is that you're stuck out in nowhere along with the character(s); you can't wait to get home. It needs to be said, though, that Zemeckis' tranquil control never wavers, and that Hanks takes whatever starch he can out of the primal-man conception. Even when he's swathed in more beard than the two bearded guys in ZZ Top put together, Hanks comes across as a sane if ornery modern man, even as he's carrying on animated chats with his volleyball -- we accept it as any person's natural hunger to connect with someone. And he never loses his humor.

Zemeckis and writer William Broyles, Jr. have been planting a few hints, though, and toward the end, after Chuck has returned home, we hear about something that almost happened on the island during those four (offscreen) years. Chuck becomes a figure of endurance, a real chicken-soup-for-the-soul story, and the movie closes up shop about 20 minutes before it ends. Hanks has a remarkable intense, haunted look -- it isn't just his weight loss, though there seem to be new planes and contours to his face -- but we never understand how it feels to be back among people who take trivial things seriously after you've been spearing fish and talking to a gory volleyball for the length of a presidential term. (It doesn't help that Broyles' script contains several glaring set-ups at the beginning that will predictably "pay off" later: a bad tooth, the ailing wife of a co-worker, etc.)

Chuck goes to see Kelly, whose photo kept him alive all that time, but Helen Hunt can't work up much energy for the occasion; maybe she was dispirited by how few scenes she has. She could play the kind of woman a man would risk death to get back to, but she doesn't here, and the awkwardness of their late scenes together feels less like realism than like a casting mismatch. Alan Silvestri's score, which sounds like an unfinished piece of music (most of the movie has none), whines on cue to lock in on Chuck's pangs of loss. It whines, with a glimmer of hope, when Chuck imparts the moral of the fable: that you have to keep breathing, keep living. The movie takes too long to deliver us this banal package of wisdom, and we know what it is before we open it: a box of chocolates.

Tom Hanks' performance held me, but as written 'Cast Away' is about the great mystery of the human will to survive -- and, incidentally, about the great mystery of the mass audience's will to accept pablum.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4493&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/10/07 12:31:39
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User Comments

7/19/14 phwbkk USA 2 stars
12/24/13 Michelle O WILSON!!Hanks is now DIABETIC from the extreme weight-loss to BECOME these characters!! 5 stars
2/20/11 Ark Wilson definitely needs an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor! 4 stars
9/30/10 brian To this day I call my basketball Spalding. (I know, but I don't have a Wilson.) 4 stars
8/10/10 Chad Dillon Cooper "Wilson" should have won an Oscar for his roll. 3 stars
6/16/10 ph perfect except for the ending, that was a bit blunt 4 stars
8/02/09 Samantha Pruitt absolutely riveting, Tom Hanks is AMAZING! 5 stars
4/18/09 Mena Definatly worth writing a paper about, for english class 4 stars
9/13/08 David No man is an island. -indeed 5 stars
9/02/08 Nikki Amazing how a guy and a volleyball can be so entertaining... 4 stars
8/30/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 5 stars
8/04/08 Yoda A Hollywood movie with an excellent unHollywood-like ending. 4 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT THOROUGLY ENTERTAINING AND SKILLFULLY RENDERED 4 stars
3/28/08 Renzo Great! 4 stars
12/10/07 HANNAH WCKED MOVIE 5 stars
12/02/07 Bnorm Awesome movie...if you dont like it you're a clownshoe 4 stars
11/04/07 Guy Hoevenaars Little dialogue, yet still engrossing! 2 Toms, 1 fat and 1 bearded skinny bloke!!! 5 stars
8/22/07 wallace you wouldnt happen to have a match would you? best movie ever! 5 stars
5/16/07 R.W. Welch Hanks is good but Wilson steals the show. Enigmatic ending doesn't help. 4 stars
2/01/07 Matt Some missed opportunities, but Hanks can make any crap earn an extra * or 2. 4 stars
11/25/06 David Pollastrini an unoriginal concept turns out quite original 5 stars
8/26/06 Ryan Haha, fuck off Steve in Prague, theres no unknown islands because we don't know they exist. 4 stars
8/23/06 Quigley Incredible story that's on the road to being a classic. Hanks was superb and Wilson = Oscar 5 stars
8/05/06 nicolecrom2678 Made you think what it would be like to be stuck on an island alone 3 stars
7/13/06 EZ It's a great movie but it's kinda hard to watch the same guy by himself the whole film 4 stars
6/01/06 drydock54321 bravo tom hanks. played very well. 4 stars
5/23/06 Chuck Nolan After i bought the movie i wipped my ass with the dvd. 1 stars
4/20/06 Indrid Cold A unique, meditative experience. I found it very moving and beautiful. 5 stars
4/13/06 CWO BOBBY J. FREEMAN USN RETIRED Great opening... Tom Hanks sets the stage for this movie and he does a great job of it! 5 stars
12/29/05 CWO BOBBY J. FREEMAN USN RETIRED A real life like story second to none - Well done by Tom Hanks 5 stars
10/03/05 CWO BOBBY J. FREEMAN USN RETIRED SIMPLY A WONDERFUL PICTURE 5 stars
8/21/05 Mohsin Ali Leghari Very Good 4 stars
8/20/05 ES It's a movie about one guy trapped on a deserted island and it was great= tom you rock 4 stars
7/28/05 Quigley Tom Hanks was incredible as usual. Visual effects were good, story was good (Wilson)! 5 stars
7/28/05 Wc 10 times watch it, 10 times cry... 5 stars
7/21/05 Brandy Harrington Wilson? WILLLLLLLSSSOOOONNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ...I cried. 5 stars
3/07/05 Dan Loved it. 5 stars
1/04/05 ALDO GREAT film....Especially the first time you watch it. 5 stars
10/30/04 island gurl well i didnt like the bit with the skate how he did his own dentice work that was just eeww 3 stars
10/30/04 HL Only Hanks Could Pull This Off..But Why the Ending? 4 stars
10/24/04 UMER deniro is the only other actor on this planet i could think of who could pull this roll of 4 stars
9/26/04 tao sa gubat soobrang galing!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/06/04 Anthony G this movie was pretty good 4 stars
8/04/04 Katie This movie is great,but some scenes were hard to watch,like when he pulled out his tooth.Ow 4 stars
7/20/04 AlaskanReviewer I think that Tom Hanks deserved the Oscar for his performance in this movie. 5 stars
7/12/04 Daveman Such a minimalist idea is pompous when it's just a product of soulless Hollywood artifice. 2 stars
6/19/04 Denise Duspiva worth a look 3 stars
6/12/04 Raymond Lee wow talk about survial 5 stars
5/31/04 Frazier Very creative and well executed, was very much pleased considering lack of dialogue 5 stars
5/19/04 Jack Sommersby Nothing new or particularly interesting (and the scenes with Hunt are just awful). 2 stars
5/19/04 y2mckay Or as I like to call it, "The 80 million dollar Fed-Ex commercial" 3 stars
3/10/04 ghghfhgfhf grwat 5 stars
2/19/04 john island sequences are excellent - feels completly real - entertaining 4 stars
1/07/04 your worst goddamn nightmare damn good movie... it was quiet but definitely not boring 5 stars
11/22/03 ross hendrick worth buying, if you can find it cheap enough 4 stars
10/27/03 John Bale Hanks has a remarkable range as his tour de force in this survival flick shows 4 stars
10/23/03 A. Knight I didn't care about getting popcorn. 5 stars
9/09/03 Dawn You know there's a problem when the character you feel for the most is sporting equipment. 2 stars
7/26/03 Scuba Worst 2 boobless hours ever. 1 stars
7/12/03 Indrid Cold Understanable that many find it boring, but I loved this quiet, simple-yet-profound movie. 5 stars
4/07/03 Eduardo excellent movies 5 stars
3/23/03 Winthrop J Applesmythe III why do people on this site give low reviews for a movie being "sad"? 4 stars
3/02/03 Jack Sommersby Here, here, Charles! A great skewering of a most overpraised film. 2 stars
11/29/02 Jay Hey, I Can't Swim, if you're a male, stop fucking your mother and get a fucking clue!!! 5 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Tom Hanks' Oscar is in the hands of a drunken Kiwi. 5 stars
11/10/02 moviemachine I Can't Swim can suck my ass!!! Tom Hanks is great, but he didn't win the Oscar. Sadly. 5 stars
10/18/02 Charles Tatum Manipulative trash, Hanks lost weight, big deal 2 stars
7/27/02 karen goldstein Great Flick but Helen Hunt Is a Major BITCH for not going back to him - ruined the ending 4 stars
7/27/02 I Can't Swim Justin-HE DIDN'T WIN! Know why? Cuz this was a borefest! A volleyball?! 1 stars
6/06/02 Jeremy Im sorry but this is a sad movie DONT SEE IT 1 stars
5/21/02 Veronica Foxx Yes, cannibals would have made this a thousand times better! As it is, average if that good 3 stars
4/17/02 Wilson Totally brilliant! Filmaking at it's finest. 5 stars
4/06/02 Justin I'm so glad that Tom Hanks won an Oscar! 5 stars
3/06/02 Jono SAnders An excellent survival story 4 stars
2/25/02 Jenny Tullwartz Good when out to sea; STUPID when on land 4 stars
2/25/02 Butterbean Pretty cool! Who knew that a movie about a man stranded alone would be so good? 4 stars
2/21/02 Xaver It was an entertaining and good-feeling kind of film 4 stars
1/21/02 Spencer Lent Ending sucked but the rest kicked ass 4 stars
1/17/02 Andrew Carden A 3-Hour Long Episode Of Survivor With A Dude Named Wilson. 3 stars
1/15/02 CI This is one of my very favorite movies! It's one of the best films I've ever seen! 5 stars
1/15/02 Sparky Polastri The perfect cure for insomnia; cringed when he kept talking to the ball 1 stars
10/15/01 ElephantShoes interesting, loved it 5 stars
9/29/01 meshaely mooore best movie I had seen in while And i am such the critic. 5 stars
8/21/01 tnt Entertaining film all the way through...beautifully acted by Hanks and Hunt 5 stars
8/17/01 hilary worth a look 4 stars
8/08/01 Mr. Hat Original, creative, funny, & scary. Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt R great. 4 stars
8/07/01 Chance Great! If you understood that his whole experience was to bring him to Bettina 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk I'm wishing cancer on this movie! (I begin to twist my hands back and forth) 1 stars
8/06/01 badfish Great film making..Great sound..Great picture..Hanks is a real pro!! Loved Wilson!! 5 stars
7/28/01 S.Coppa Very Good...but the ending felt sort of incomplete! 4 stars
7/28/01 delmer daves very good, but i felt that the development of wilson's character was a little soft. 5 stars
7/24/01 SJKelley Script is dull and repetitive. MsAsh's review misses it yet again. 3 stars
7/18/01 Basil Did anyone else notice instead of yelling Chuck she yelled Jack at the end? 4 stars
7/16/01 Matt Taglia Tom Hanks comes out with his best performance in his career, as well as Helen Hunt. 5 stars
7/04/01 Piz Hanks was mesmerizing, a great movie idea wonderfully brought to life 4 stars
6/24/01 The Bomb 69 good stuff, no way he lasts 4 years tho, ending was kind of vague 4 stars
6/21/01 Tzila Seewald It was sucked! It's so boring! it's pretty much same everyday until the end! BORING! 2 stars
6/19/01 Monday Morning Underwhelming in spite of Hanks. Ending was incredibly heavy-handed. 3 stars
6/10/01 Turtle Tom Hanks' best performance and one of my favorites. 5 stars
6/02/01 zeitgeist by far the best fedex commercial ever made 4 stars
5/31/01 MOVIE bestes movie on all big world 5 stars
5/26/01 Connoisseur great movie folks, best of 2000! 5 stars
5/24/01 zeitgeist the most elaborate FedEx commercial ever made. Top that, UPS. 3 stars
3/25/01 bumfluff this rocked! i love wilson! 4 stars
3/24/01 Aaron Cornell One of the best Tom Hanks movies 5 stars
3/18/01 Del R I was really broken up when Hanks' character lost his friend "Wilson" the volleyball 5 stars
3/14/01 bobbuttons The resolution with Kelly is appropriate; Texas scene at the end, however, is too sappy 4 stars
3/12/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Like a 1-man Survivor without the prize money, TV crew, and BULLSHIT. 4 stars
3/09/01 Hatta Hakimi awesome film, but the ending could have been better 5 stars
3/04/01 Sytse Faber As long as you like films with good stories, which have got some comedy, this is perfect!!! 5 stars
2/28/01 The Evil Penguin this film would have been awesome, if it weren't for the ending. 4 stars
2/26/01 fabio just technical 3 stars
2/15/01 Mac I liked the end. Putting others ahead of your own feelings is becomimg unique in movies 4 stars
2/13/01 LAZY Wilson - NOOOO! HA HA HA. Tom Hanks can't act his way out of a nut sack. 4 stars
2/12/01 Richard Wright An amazing central performance. The middle act was absorbing,start and end were just O.K. 4 stars
2/11/01 charles The Biggest FedEx Advertising 2 stars
2/10/01 Bobby I Highly Recommend it, just bring a box of tissue 5 stars
2/08/01 Mitja Podgajski Very realistic and deep story 4 stars
2/06/01 Classicdog Great flick. Tom Hanks at his best! 4 stars
2/04/01 Avenger girl I enjoyed this movie even though its a little unrealistic 4 stars
2/03/01 brentley very well done flick. the crash scene alone was worth the admission. 4 stars
2/01/01 ludolecorse fucking great film!!! how surprising! Don't judge what you don't even want to see 5 stars
2/01/01 looloo looloo gooog 5 stars
2/01/01 Johnny Figaro Too much product placement and a heavy-handed story. Without Tom would be just bad. 3 stars
1/31/01 Jason Holt The script and production were troubled, but the film will still have an impact unique to U 5 stars
1/30/01 S Lefebvre A close view of human perseverance at an emotional sometimes frightening level. Excellent 5 stars
1/29/01 Lori Makes one wonder what they would do in the same situation. 4 stars
1/26/01 GSammie Thought-provoking; slows viewer's pace so that personal reflection is possible. 4 stars
1/25/01 Craig wilson stole the show and helen hunt in a wet white shirt were the best things about this 2 stars
1/25/01 viking Hanks and Zemeckis steer clear of the usual desert island cliches. an enjoyable experience 4 stars
1/25/01 neil tierney uhhhh........ awesome movie! see it! 5 stars
1/24/01 Jil Mustard inspiring, frightening, loving, sad 5 stars
1/23/01 Doug Hull Why was the Texas-bound package from Russia on a flight to Malasia? 4 stars
1/23/01 Don Adcock Gilligan's Island is much better! 2 stars
1/23/01 tom coleman excellent, great special effects 5 stars
1/23/01 matthew smith Tom Hanks gives a courageous performance in what could be his third oscar 5 stars
1/22/01 Justine Hardy The was fantastic 5 stars
1/22/01 Uncommon Sense FedEx Infomercial, outbid UPS? Blown ending. What about the RING? 4 stars
1/22/01 neil bartlett brilliance for most of the way, but why the crappy ending? 4 stars
1/17/01 RAINBOW I thought it was definately worth watching!! Loved every minute of it! 5 stars
1/17/01 Matthew Bartley The crash and Island scenes were great but the ending was very weak 4 stars
1/16/01 lulany Hanks is indeed great but too much storyline missing especially toward the end. 4 stars
1/16/01 tiffany! it was a little slow but overal really good 5 stars
1/15/01 Krystal Great movie, believable rather than contrived ending 5 stars
1/14/01 RWL Hanks was good, Helen Hunt is awful, and the ending was disappointing 3 stars
1/13/01 ADJ on a 1-5, give it a "4". Hanks is a great actor, and one of a few who could carry this. 4 stars
1/11/01 Boy In The Designer Bubble I like Tom as much as the next fellow, but this movie wore out my last nerve. 2 stars
1/11/01 Matt69 Last 20 minutes kept it from being fucking awesome. Tom Hanks is superb 4 stars
1/11/01 Movie Watcher Could have been better,ending needs work 3 stars
1/11/01 Joe That's the longest fedex commercial I've ever seen. Hackneyed, boring and worthless. 1 stars
1/10/01 Tdis72 Descent movie with not much dialogue. Ending sucked but Hanks was great! Can you say Oscar. 4 stars
1/10/01 Lurch Hellaz High Quality Fosheezy 5 stars
1/09/01 Ystergarde This is worth a glut of Oscars. Some people are just unimaginitive morons. 5 stars
1/08/01 tom coleman excellent film-did he go with the new girl? 5 stars
1/08/01 fattyankles Actual title: CAST........AWAY. "I love that you missed me." Help us. 2 stars
1/08/01 Lucia Chambers See it on the BIG screen. Plane crash is worth the trip alone-5 friends rate it 5 stars too 5 stars
1/08/01 zeitgeist spectacular until the last 20 minutes or so. Get a dialect coach there, Helen. 4 stars
1/07/01 Murgatroyd Wait 'til the video 3 stars
1/07/01 Chuck Smith Fed Ex Is A Non-Union Company. No wonder Chuck was stressed. 1 stars
1/06/01 Janine Lay, RN Absolutely fantastic!!! 5 stars
1/05/01 Philm Phreak From the plane crash to the rescue- phenomenal! 5 stars
1/05/01 Kirsten Kicked my ass. Appreciated not having every moment explained to me (very rare). 5 stars
1/04/01 Rick compelling, convincing and the audience didn't talk during this one 5 stars
1/04/01 Miss Molly Good right up until the end. 3 stars
1/04/01 peachick hanks is simply an honest "actor", the oscar should go to whomever chooses his scripts. 4 stars
1/03/01 Karen Henke Pretty amazing. 5 stars
1/03/01 Tdis72 Great movie with no dialogue. Hanks was superb. Rack up another OSCAR! 4 stars
1/03/01 Collegebrat19 Great film making effort. Tom was wonderful but you can wait to rent this one on video. 4 stars
1/03/01 Nessus MUST...USE...FEDEX... 4 stars
1/02/01 joe Hanks was great on the island, but the ending was crap 2 stars
12/31/00 John Petersik Best plane crash scene I've ever seen!!! My heart was pounding so hard afterwards!! 5 stars
12/31/00 Greyjack Best new film I've seen in months. Erik spiked this one--read his review. 5 stars
12/31/00 kevin A good movie, could have been so much more. Hanks is superb in first 2 hours after it suck 3 stars
12/31/00 kgl Good flick. Hanks is a great actor, but I'm sick of Hunt. 4 stars
12/30/00 Rod Tom Hanks does a fantasitic job. 5 stars
12/29/00 Doctor Collosus well constructed, but forgetable movie. Nothing special. 3 stars
12/29/00 ZKK 1 hour of genius 3 stars
12/29/00 Brent Young Not bad --tried for Critical Awards too much. Hanks is pretty good, and Hunt is pretty hot. 4 stars
12/29/00 J Good... not great. 4 stars
12/28/00 Mike Noland Erik the Movieman articulated every one of my thoughts perfectly. Extraordinary movie 5 stars
12/28/00 TomServo pretty cool... 5 stars
12/28/00 Jules Great visuals, flawed story, but still amazing to see. 5 stars
12/27/00 Thor Aackerlund from Dallas, TX Man .. I loved this movie .. something unique and timeless about it 5 stars
12/27/00 Jenny-My-Fur hanks rocks my world, wonderful performance! amazing, killer, fantastic! 5 stars
12/26/00 Sara Thanks for not ruining the ending by resolving EVERYTHING!! 4 stars
12/25/00 poetchuck Not bad for a mostly silent film 4 stars
12/25/00 kohawk Really good movie. period 4 stars
12/25/00 Chris Trader Disappointment of 2000 1 stars
12/25/00 Dp Great apart from the ending. 3 stars
12/24/00 Jose Vicente Matutina Hanks dished out an Oscar winning performance 5 stars
12/24/00 Diehard Very emotionally compelling, well done movie. 5 stars
12/23/00 Mikey Good story, great analogies at the end but I wouldn't watch it again. 4 stars
12/23/00 Greyjack Just make sure you're in the mood for a slower pace. Excellent film--wow! 5 stars
12/23/00 Jose Frayed Damn good movie. What better actor can make you emotionally attached to a VOLLEYBALL??!!! 5 stars
12/23/00 Bob shomb KrApPy! 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  22-Dec-2000 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Oct-2003

UK
  N/A

Australia
  18-Jan-2001 (M)




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