Tom Hanks stars in this emotional and psychologically thrilling castaway story that brings the viewer on one of the greatest cinematic journeys ever to exist. Is it already obvious that I like this film? The film which is very much a one-man show with a few cameos here and there, but for the most part the scenes are just Tom Hanks alone on an island talking to a volleyball and slowly losing his mind. The idea itself may not be the most creative, but this castaway principle is simple and easy to work with and very entertaining to watch. The cinematography is also absolutely stunning and the screenplay is both exciting and chillingly frightful, but is poorly paced.
The movie is carried by an outstanding performance by Tom Hanks that provides beautifully paced character development that withstands some awkward jumps. Hanks manages to not overplay the part while still getting his inner-thoughts and emotions to come through without word. Towards the later part of the film his character begins going insane and speaks to a volleyball, which is uncomfortably believable and Hanks manages to sell this otherwise funky premise. One of the last scenes of the film is absolutely chilling as well and this is in large part to the screenplay, but also because of Hanks’ performance. The film also has a few other characters that appear before and after Hanks’ castaway experience, which are also the two weakest parts of the film. Helen Hunt plays Hanks’ girlfriend who drives the majority of Hanks’ scenes, but with very little screen time she doesn’t manage to get the audience interested in her character. Nick Searcy plays Hanks’ best friend, and although his character is fairly miniscule, he is a very interesting and compelling character who helps to make one of the last scenes so chilling.
The screenplay itself is mostly okay. Mostly okay? Whenever the scenes are of Hanks on the island alone or with the volleyball the movie is powerful and compelling. But the beginning and end of the film are dry and boring, except for that one scene towards the end in which Hanks’ character speaks to Searcy’s character. All the other moments when we are taken to the ‘mainland’ the movie seems to fall flat on several occasions with simple and boring premises and scenes. The movie also plays with a few jumps in time that really cut away from the most interesting aspects of the story: Hanks growing insane, and Hanks first reuniting with civilization. This not only makes you sad you missed out on those parts of the story, but create a distance between the film and the viewer. The cinematography in the film however is absolutely stunning with beautiful shots of the ocean and island. The cinematography also provides a few very frightening moments of extreme heights.
Best Aspect- The Hanks and Searcy scene towards the end
Worst Aspect- The “4 years later” time jump