Cast Away

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Year Released: 2000
Rating: 3.5

Completely amazing film by Zemeckis, about how FedEx employee Tom Hanks is the only survivor of a plane crash and has to survive on a stranded island (the luscious blue waters are captivating - it was shot in Fiji) by utilizing primal skills (killing, making fire, getting drinking water, all forms of self-protection). Hanks' performance is ingenious - how does this guy stay in character? - as he (with a carefully plotted script) learns to adapt to nature and, in turn, discovers alternatives the basic necessities of human life: friendship (with a volleyball named Wilson, which he paints a face on with his own blood) and art (symbolized in the one FedEx package that washes ashore and he refuses to open; also, the cave-paintings of his wife). The CGI is nowhere near as good as it should be (the whale looks digitized - so does the water in the crash scene), unfortunately, but with Hanks' performance so genuine, what does it matter? The ending never goes the depths I thought it would either, keeping everything genuine albeit somewhat depressing. Cast Away is a telling statement about loneliness and primitivism, and one of the best films of the year.