A Brief Movie Critic Of Cast Away By Robert Zemeckis

[A]    CAST AWAY – A film directed by Robert Zemeckis is about a FedEx worker, Chuck Noland, interpreted by Tom Hanks, who is a victim of a plane accident, and the only survivor, who stays in an island for four years. The accident was in 1995, Cook Isles. The film focus is the survival of the human spirit rather than the survival itself. The producer’s showing a different angle of loneness. Chuck’s transformation along the film is not only physically but also spiritually. It makes the film intellectually and philosophically interesting. Let’s go to the sequences. Kelly’s family is asking him to assume the matrimony in the last Christmas dinner they had together. They change presents. Kelly’s given him her grandpa’s clock, and he gave her a box, which seems to be suitable for a ring. The moments of the film are very clearly divided. It shows the personages, and their functions, then, the accident followed by the survivor’s drama in the island, and his hope to come back. The distant FedEx Van that comes far away is noticed only when the silence of the landscape is broken with the noise of the engine, and the film curiously ends in the same scenario, by the same way it starts.

[B]               Some controversies are presented along the film. The fact that Chuck stays alone for a long time,and he’s unable to find friends, as well as he gets frustrated with attempts to leave the isle, conduced him to the idea of suicide.. There’s a whole in the boat when he arrives in the island, and he makes use of the same boat to try to escape. His only friend is a volley ball. We do not see his psychological statement. He doesn’t cry, or remember facts. There’s no flashback or flashforward. Broyles was cast away near the Sea of Cortez, and he could notice what should really go on with someone in such a condition. Anyway, by the director and writer’s background, we can wonder that they are fond of the exploration of incredible journeys, their spirit of adventure. Chuck’s psychological hybridism should be explored much more. Anyway, we close our eyes to it, when we see he at least, compares crabs from Alaska and fire in the city and allude a comparison with what he had in the isle. Whatever he thinks is spoken. We never go to his mind. It’s unreachable, from the beginning to 02the end. His intelligence is demonstrated when he has several attempts to use objects “properly”, like the ice skating blade, the dress, the cassettes, and the sales. His mind is versatile. His belief, so close to the day after, not with what he was really living. Kelly is his reason to stay alive.

[C]                If we compare with some other films, we would say it makes us remembering Tarzan, and many heroes of resistance. Even his toothache made me remembering the scene "The beach" with Di Caprio, where the only way, was getting rid of the tooth, once they could not cure the pain. I’d say what is really original in the film is the transformation of the personage, which is much more demanding than Tootsie. Tom Hanks, transcends the limits of dramaturgy, with his diet. I got impressive.. About the moment that the engine was sucking him and it suddenly exploded, or the rope impeded him to come up to the surface; those moments of suspense are common in many films

.[D]              About the sequence of the film. If we have to evaluate the sequence of he film, we do have to recognize how organized the edition is. The film is controlled so that the main topic could be shown and balanced. We can see the drama going to the top, coming down, with intermediate points, as Gustave Freitag theoretically divided it. Everything seems to be very well connected. We never have the sensation it is too slow, and our feelings move from contemplation, to panic, curiosity and hope. There’s a moment for everything. The Van 286 is going to a store in Russia. They remove Lenin’s picture in front, and outside of the store. It’s Christmas. Chuck sent a packet to himself. It was a timer to cook eggs. Then, Chuck is making a speech about the importance of time for their job and the concurrence between FedEx and the USmail. After the flight, he talks with Stan, and gets concerned about Mary’s health problem, trying to help his best friend. Memphis. He meets Kelly in her office getting copies of a dissertation. They dance together, and go home. Saravejo’s on TV. That’s a historical reference in the film. He’s very tired and sleeps. They go for Christmas celebration with the family. A clock is given to him as a present, on the way to the airport, after dinner. He had a toothache. Anyway, he says goodbye and forgets to give her the car keys.. A promise to open a certain packet only next Happy New Year celebration was made. Then, the sentence: I’ll be right back! He takes the plane.

Storm! Turbulence. The clock with Kelly’s pictures moves. He goes to the toilet and tries to brush his teeth. Everything shakes. Then, the catastrophe takes place. He rescues the watch on the floor, gets the first surveillance kit, and gets ready for the worst part of the tragedy. They land in the sea, and Chuck can bravely escape from the plane until the moment he arrives close to the coast and rests. Sunlight. First steps in the Virgin Island Then, he writes on the sand. No result. The water erases everything. A second attempt with wood. He climbs to the top of a mountain. Nothing besides water around the whole contours. Even the sound of the coconuts scares him. He could see the body of a person floating. He located his friend Albert R. Miller, gets Albert’s shoes, prepares his funeral, and writes the date 1950-1995 on a rock. He gets his lantern too, and says: This is it! He cuts the frontal part of the shoes. They don’t feet him.

[E]               Alone. His civilization even when he dedicates time for his basic necessities is observed.. His bravery is manifested when he waits for the next morning and goes with his boat, toward to the ship. He’s lanced to the deepest part of the ocean and hits his knee on the corals. That’s really impressive. We feel pain with what we see. It’s an impact. We expect him to be drowned, but he isn’t.  Blood spots the water, and he strangely gets the boat back, living the water, bleeding. A thunderstorm, forces him to look for a cavern, where he can be more protected. It’s remarkable the sensibility of the direction, and the combinations of light, space, and time. Illumination - that was very light, with contrastive dark colors - runs to the exploration of day and night natural light. There are some interventions of this natural imposition, when chuck learns how to make fire.  Before this, we have beautiful shots of moon light, sunsets, and other light references. There’s a referential point with the lantern, when Chuck sleeps in the cavern. A whole in the cavern, his eyes, and the sensation to overcome those difficult moments. He gets stressed after many attempts to make fire. He leaves a blood spot on the ball. That’s the moment Wilson comes to his imagination. He gives the ball a face, by scratching the blood hand spot. He touched the ball when his hand was bleeding. Then, Wilson, the volleyball, is now part of his life. His mind is still operating some concrete operations. He calculates distances, and

concludes. They will never find us. He has a very serious problem with his tooth, and decides to pull it off. He makes use of the blade and a stone. From now on, time will run away, and we won’t be able to see what happened in the next four years. No explanations about his adaptation for the audience.

[F]                 Four years later - He became an excellent hunter. Besides this evolution, we have the sensation there was not so much movement. Things didn’t change so much in his life attitudes. He did not build up a house. He preferred the caverns. Time goes by. He has it under his control. He eats raw fish, sleeps in caves and talks with Wilson. He’s got on a bad temper, and said: Shut up! He gets scared with a noise, and surprised when he sees it’s only a piece of metal, from Bakersfield. Then, he observes the wind action on it. A good idea. It can work.... He starts to plan his return home, by building up a primitive boat. The skate blade became a hammer. He plans everything carefully. The option to die. He kicks Wilson. It’s night. He looks desperately for him. He cries. He rescues the volleyball. He repaints the face on the ball with his blood. The boat is ready. He gets his belongings, looks at Kelly’s face, and paints wings on the sales of the boat. It’s night. He confesses he is scared. It’s morning. So windy. He writes on a stone: CHUCK NOLAND WAS HERE 1500 DAYS ESCAPED TO SEA TELL KELLY FREARS, MEMPHIS, TN. I LOVE HER. That’s the D-day. He gets the command and says goodbye for the prison. Big waves. He talks with the waves...not yet. He sets up the wings – sales - and escapes. When it opens there’s a drawing of two wings.. Sunset, night. MUSIC. A big whale appears. It looks at him again. Focus at Wilson. The day after – Fishing. Storm. The sales escaped from the boat. He floats anyway. Day after – calm focus on Wilson – He rests. The ball falls in the water. Jets of water. He gets up. He notices he’s missed Wilson. He holds a rope and tries to rescue it. The rope is not long enough to reach Wilson. He loses the ball. It’s him or Wilson. He apologizes, finds the rope again and comes back to the boat.... Wilson I’m sorry...He gets rid of the paddles, and gives up to fight. A big ship behind him. He doesn’t notice that. He wakes - AWS CARGOS GESEACO (a big ship passing by). He waves. And people see him. He is safe. His last word was KELLY!


[G]   Phone is ringing ... that’s Kelly; she fainted to know he was alive. We have some impact with this change.  He’s on a plane, four weeks later, and all clean. 45 min One Dr Pepper 2 cups of ice. Here’s the drill: Fred Smith will say some words.... And he says... I don’t know what to say to her. His friend replies: Chuck, she had let you go...she thought you were dead. You had a funeral a coffin. (Personal belongings) – He remembers Mary – she died) The speech: Four years ago the family of FedEx lost five of our sons; that was a terrible and tragic day but today one of those sons, Chuck Noland has been returned to us. Chuck is welcome. Jim Spalding. His dentist – He talks with Jerry Lovett indicated by Jean. Kelly got married with him. Kelly suffered a lot. She's very lost...and asks for time. He’s sorry. Then a party to him took place. Friends say goodbye... lawyers.... Papers to bring a man back Tomorrow we’re gonna bring you back to life. Lots of staff. Crabs...no sense...Fire...Lights off. He’s in bed. Lights off, on! He thinks about Kelly. He takes a taxi and goes to her home. He gives some dollars to the driver and asks him to wait. He thinks about knocking... he doesn’t... she opens the door. A hug...she goes and gets a towel to him. The family is sleeping. She prepares some coffee... nice house. Katie...pictures on the fridge...beautiful...handful, she replies. He wants to understand something... A professional theme of Football in Nashville... Used to be Houston. Oilers now Tennessee Titans. They went to the super bowl last year. Almost won. Milk 2% fat or not half-and-half, as you like. What happened with your doctoral? She gave up. She wants to come back. He gives the clock back. It doesn’t work .He is sorry. She wants him to stay with it. It belongs to the family (we don't see their hands). They go to the room, and check maps. You got lost 800 km of Cook isles. 950 km of Cook isles... they searched weeks for you. They go to the garage. She wants to show him the car. It's a good car. It’s his car. (Chuck's hair is not ok. It was blond, and suddenly became brown.) She gives the key back. She takes the belongings from the back. He wants to know if he wants to have more kids. She’s confused. He would have. She answers: I don’t know. I really don’t know. You said you would be right back. I’m so sorry. Me too... a kiss...goodbye – rainy day. Light off. He’s driving home. She’s stuck at the door, and runs to him. Chuck – MUSIC. This moment is so expected by the audience. (Reinforcing the encounter). That’s a lovely moment. The music projects and promotes the moment, like na emotional impact..  Then, he comes back.... A big kiss – rainy.  And her conversation: I always knew you were alive... I love you. You are the love of my life. I love you too Kelly, more than you ever wonder. They both go to the car. He drives her home. They look one each other. Chuck...You have to go home...she agrees. He drives her back home.

[H]               Talking with a friend – He holds a glass of ice  .We both concluded she considered everything as she had to forgotten me I considered and saw I’ve lost her. I was going to die there. I had power over nothing I couldn’t kill myself. He had a warm sensation. He knew he was never going to see that again. I was wrong I got a sale and now I’m back in Memphis talking to you. There’s ice in my glass, and I lost again. I’m said. I don’t have Kelly but I’m grateful because she stayed with me in that isle. I know what I have to do now. I have to keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide can bring?

[I]                The mysterious packet. Elvis Presley’s song... (This music was also presented right at the beginning of the film. See the connection. Same landscape and same music) Water, another Wilson ball. The packet with the wings. His car. He goes to the house, and leaves it there in front. Nobody is at home He leaves a message like this: This package saved my life. Thank you Chuck Noland. We understand it illuminated his mind to make the sales of his boat. That’s why it has a great sense of value for him.

[J]                      Back to the road - He stops in the crossroad, drinks water, and sees the maps. Someone comes at the other side, and explains him the way.. He walks to the center of the crossroad, stops on a yellow line turns around himself, looks straight forward and seems to give a smile. But not really. MUSIC (reinforcing a certain moment of the film). The crossroad is linked with the beginning of the film. See he is left and the girl coming from the left. When the film started it was right and right. He tries to smile, facing the camera. His face, his personality in focus. His identity. He looks like Wilson for instance. A face, a new body, and his fragmented mind, which is unreachable, but vigorously strong. He’s back, but he doesn’t have Kelly nor his imaginary and real friends. He was dead. Everybody expects a happy end, but it didn’t happen. Critics considered the film three stars. There’s too much of reality, emotional impact, but stylized, sometimes unreal and real facts. Reality is relative. Who knows what life can bring?  It’s up to us to take the decision, over any influences.






Bobker, Lee R. Elements of Film. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College

      Publishers. Orlando: FL. USA. 1977. (chs.1 and 8).

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, New York:

             Modern Language Association, 1988.


Cast away. By William Broyles. Dir. Robert Zemeckis. Perf. Tom Hanks; Helen

       Hunt; Nick Search; Chris Nth; Larry White;Geoffrey Blake; Peter Von Berg;

       Jenifer Lewis; Wilson (the volleyball, in his feature film debut) .2000.

       Videocassette. USA. Blockbuster, 2000


Cast away. Jan.2202.  http: //www.corona.bc.ca/films/details/castaways.html.





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