UK Release date: 12th January 2001
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 6th October 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
A film I have (surprisingly) only seen once before; I decided to give it another look as I was feeling a little nostalgic. It’s remarkable how time passes and you forget just how long ago certain films made an appearance. I was flabbergasted to see that this one came out in the year 2000; I could have sworn it was more recent than that! But then I guess it just proves I’ve been a tad busy since! But on with the film; it has three distinct acts that neatly divide this rather harrowing and at the same time, very touching, story. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
Chuck Noland is a trouble-shooter for Fed-Ex, one of the largest distribution networks in the world. His job is to go out to depots all over the world and sort out any issues in order to keep the packages moving to their destinations. His girlfriend; Kelly Frears also has quite a high-powered job which keeps the pair of them apart for long periods of time; but they still manage to hold their relationship together. One Christmas eve Chuck is pulled away from Kelley on a trip; they have made plans to meet up for New Year’s Eve but Chuck will never make it. His plane goes down in the Pacific Ocean some 500 miles off course. He is the only survivor to be washed up on the shores of a desert island. We follow his desperate attempts to survive; including one attempt at DIY dentistry that really should not be tried at home! In an effort to keep some semblance of normality (& to stop going mad), he invents a character, Wilson, who is represented by a volleyball. After many trials and tribulations and after a long period of time the pair of them make their bid for freedom… I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Desert Island Division) will be trying out some of the DIY dentistry on me.
Beautifully made with some great locations (particularly the island) and some nice camera effects. A very understated but effective score by Alan Silvestri underpins the on-screen action. The highlight was a truly excellent performance from Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland; the film lives or dies on this central role and Hanks really delivers here! I had forgotten just how good an actor he was! He is ably supported by Helen Hunt who, as Kelley Frears, particularly in the latter scenes also puts on a great performance. I must also mention Nick Searcy as Noland’s friend Stan; he had quite a tricky role and pulled it off pretty well. Finally an honourable mention for Wilson the Volleyball who went uncredited and played himself to a tee!
I found this a totally absorbing film; one of those that make the time pass much more quickly than you expect. You very quickly get involved in the story and you find that you actually care about this man stranded on this island. You really want him to survive and get back to the woman he loves; and you feel his pain when things don’t go quite right. It’s quite emotional and can be quite harrowing in places. Some people don’t like the ending but I really did; it leaves the audience to decide just what he’ll do next… Loved this one.
SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
My score: 9.2/10
IMDb Score: 7.6/10 (based on 193,996 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 73/100: (Based on 32 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 80/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 664,414 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Chuck Noland: That's a search area of 500,000 square miles. That's twice the size of Texas. They may never find us.
Chuck Noland: Aha. Look what I've created. I have made FIRE.
Chuck Noland: Gotta love crab. In the nick of time too. I couldn't take much more of those coconuts. Coconut milk is a natural laxative. That's something Gilligan never told us.
Chuck Noland: [to Wilson] We might just make it. Did that thought ever cross your brain? Well, regardless, I would rather take my chance out there on the ocean than to stay here and die on this shithole island, spending the rest of my life talking...
Chuck Noland: ...TO A GODDAMN VOLLEYBALL!
Chuck Noland: Don't worry Wilson; I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on.
Kelly Frears: You said you'd be right back.
Chuck Noland: I'm so sorry.
Kelly Frears: Me too.
Kelly Frears: I always knew you were alive, I knew it. Everybody said that I had to let you go. I love you. You're the love of my life.
Chuck Noland: I love you too, Kelly. More than you'll ever know.
Chuck Noland: [to Kelly] You need to go home