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Cast away - Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Robert Zemeckis

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

At the edge of the world, his journey begins.

Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), an inspector for Federal Express, has a position that requires him to travel around the world, testing the various international shipping offices to make sure they're shipping in a timely manner. An accident, however, leaves him stranded on a remote island for four years. This is the story of how a man must evolve in isolation in order to survive... and when he gets back, how he has to deal with having been away from his fiancée, Kelly (Helen Hunt), for several years.

Persons of interest

  • Leonid Citer .... Fyodor
  • David Allen Brooks .... Dick Peterson
  • Semion Suradikov .... Nicolai
  • Tom Hanks .... Chuck Noland
  • Paul Sanchez .... Ramon
  • Peter von Berg .... Yuri
  • Dmitri S. Boudrine .... Lev
  • Michael Forest .... Pilot Jack
  • Viveka Davis .... Pilot Gwen
  • Nick Searcy .... Stan
  • Helen Hunt .... Kelly Frears
  • Lari White .... Bettina Peterson
  • Anne Bellamy .... Anne Larson
  • Dennis Letts .... Dennis Larson
  • Wendy Worthington .... Wendy Larson
  • Skye McKenzie .... Skye Larson
  • Valerie Wildman .... Virginia Larson
  • John Duerler .... John Larson
  • Steve Monroe .... Steve Larson
  • Lisa Long .... Lisa Madden
  • Lauren Birkell .... Lauren Madden
  • Elden Henson .... Elden Madden
  • Timothy Stack .... Morgan Madden
  • Alice Vaughn .... Alice Stockton
  • Chase MacKenzie Bebak .... Chase Stockton
  • Gage Bebak .... Gage Stockton
  • Joe Conley .... Joe Wally
  • Aaron Rapke .... Ralph Wally
  • Vince Martin .... Albert Miller
  • Garret Davis .... Blaine
  • Jay Acovone .... Peter
  • Christopher Kriesa .... Kevin
  • Chris Noth .... Jerry Lovett
  • Jenifer Lewis .... Becca Twig
  • Geoffrey Blake .... Maynard Graham
  • Wilson the Volleyball .... Itself
  • William Broyles Junior .... Screenwriter
  • Robert Zemeckis .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, the sound on my TV broke (Ahhhhh!). All I could do was watch pictures. Almost all the programs were destroyed by the loss of dialogue except for one, a film about a bloke lost in the outback, alone. Because there was no audio, I got to watch the man struggling to survive, with no-one to talk to (he'd even had to shoot his dog because it was going feral). The film became a brilliant essay on one man's solitude. Unfortunately the sound came back on and I discovered that there was a ridiculous voice-over running the whole time, but before that, the film was great.

Cast away has a similar resonance. From the moment Chuck washes up on the beach to the moment of his rescue there's no background sound except that of nature: waves booming on the reef, wind rattling the palm fronds, rain rattling all around. He doesn't even start talking to himself until half way through the film, giving you a realistic and beautiful silence to enjoy. I have said many times in these reviews that a film should be able to communicate without resorting to dialogue, effects or music, Cast away achieves this ideal. In many ways it conforms to the Dogme 95 manifesto (only recording what is actually there) and it comes very close to the glorious silences of The road home.

Tom Hanks delivers up a well-choreographed descent into madness (human beings go insane without social intercourse, not so badly as chimpanzees, but close to it). He never loses Chuck's methodical nature even when he is reduced to using a volleyball for his best friend. Wilson, the volleyball in question, out-performs Tom, bringing a vulnerability to the screen that has already secured a nomination films and movies for Best performance by an actor from another species in the year 2001 (check out this year's Trenchcoat Awards). Together, Tom and Wilson have a chemistry that makes their scenes crackle with unspoken aggression and sparkle with unspoken affection.

The return to civilisation could really be chopped off and left on the floor, but since it's been included in the film, I will say that it's a good look at what happens to a man when he comes back from the dead. The whole thing with Kelly is fraught with interpersonal tension (there's no right decision) but the deliveryman thing is too much. Despite these considerations, Cast away is still a film worth seeing.

Security censorship classification

M (Adult themes)

Surveillance time

143 minutes (2:23 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 18 January 2001
VHS rental: Undated October 2001

Cinema surveillance images

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