I re-watched Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks‘ Cast Away last night. I’d seen it only once before, when it opened 20 years ago. All this time I’ve been nurturing favorable recollections, or at least a pleasant notion that it was a better-than-decent film. I have to say that I now regard Cast Away as handsome, ambitious and certainly well-produced, but generally unexceptional or just, you know, “agreeably meh.”
It would have been so much better if Hanks hadn’t shouted “Wilson!” about 385 times. I literally sat up on the couch last night and said to the TV, “Good God, will you shut the hell up?” I’m not talking about Hanks’ character loving and needing a beat-up, blood-spattered volleyball as a companion — that part’s fine — but hearing that name shouted over and over and over is infuriating.
And that moment when Hanks’ married ex-girlfriend (Helen Hunt) faints dead away when she’s told that he’s been rescued…terrible.
The final scene has a nice aura but it doesn’t really “say” anything except “okay, you’re a survivor…alive and relatively young so where do you want to go?” Almost every alert person on the planet earth faces the same question each and every day…no? But when you think about it the ending doesn’t really connect with Hanks’ character or what he’s gone through…it feels like a moderately profound moment but there’s no connective tissue that relates to the substance of the film. It’s just nicely shot and scored and visually pleasing with the vast West Texas flatness. It would’ve been so much better without that pretty girl pulling over in her pickup truck and asking if he needs help, etc. Pretty girls don’t do that…sorry.
That third-act scene in which Hanks and Hunt acknowledge their still-intense love but nonetheless agree to part ways during an evening rainstorm? Probably the best moment in the whole film.