The 365 Best Films of the 2000s

Heroes of the Zeroes: Cast Away

Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films from 2000 to 2009.

“Cast Away”
Rated PG-13

Often labeled as sentimental, Robert Zemeckis sure focuses on sinister, but not sadistic, elements. Among the cultural touchstones with which Forrest Gump intersected, one took his love from him. In “Contact,” Eleanor Arroway’s greatest discovery required her to face someone she’d painfully lost.

2000’s “Cast Away” didn’t merely concern a marooned man’s perseverance of spirit. It addressed the idea that time waits for no one, especially someone so arrogant to believe he can master, not merely keep, it.

After surviving a catastrophic plane crash hundreds of miles off course, FedEx guru Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is stranded on an island with only random packages and a memento of his fiancée (Helen Hunt).

Justly nominated for an Oscar, Hanks displays a feral, but ingratiating, primal instinct. Zemeckis never depicts any search, making us a constant party to Chuck’s pain, isolation, insanity and, ultimately, initiative. For development of the last two, credit The Zeroes’ most developed inanimate character — “Wilson,” a volleyball to which Chuck speaks and through which he maintains resourcefulness.

As melancholy as it is affirming, “Cast Away” tells a darkly comic, occasionally punishing parable about what happens when humans lose sight of humility in life’s grand scheme — an interesting thematic twin to Hanks’ own “Joe vs. the Volcano.”

Chuck’s brave journey into the heart of, and back from, seemingly inconsolable desperation heightened drama even in “Cast Away’s” landlocked finale. Poetic and contemplative, it showed serenity in not agonizing over what we can’t control and living a life accessible to spontaneity.

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11 Responses to “Heroes of the Zeroes: Cast Away”

  1. […] John Huston. It’s a solid World War II adventure/romance flick that served as a precursor to “Cast Away” and other stories about characters surviving in isolation, though it hasn’t aged particularly […]

  2. […] Mountain Brothers The Brothers Bloom Cache Capote Capturing the Friedmans Casino Royale (2006) Cast Away The Cell Changing Lanes Charlie Wilson’s War Cherish Chicago Chicken Run Children of Men […]

  3. […] the ocean as Job-like torture, not high adventure. More recent iterations, including the wonderful “Cast Away” starring Tom Hanks, focus more on the toll such an existence exacts upon the […]

  4. jackie says:

    I loved this movie!

  5. jermey says:

    the movie cast way well was a ok movie i just think that they could of kept loking for him instead of him trying to do what he had to do the movie was ok but it just make you feel if that was you what would they do

  6. […] comedy starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant would be more of a dramatic film along the lines of “Cast Away” with Tom Hanks. How neat to see the gender roles reversed, I thought, with the woman persevering to […]

  7. […] banzai-violence kin to “Cast Away,” 2003’s “Oldboy” concerns a man who finds himself at time’s cruel whim. Whisked away on a […]

  8. Nick Rogers says:

    But does this movie make Bobby sad … or happy?

  9. Bobby McFerrin says:

    Oh, Wilson. WILSON!!!

  10. Nick Rogers says:

    Joe: Yes, I’ve heard about that one. This is the only film on the list that my wife has seen that she hates. Truth be told, I know very few women who like this movie.

  11. Joe Shearer says:

    Good movie. The bit I’ll always remember about the movie comes in the form of a DVD easter egg. It’s a question posed to Zemeckis at a Q&A about what was inside the one package Hanks didn’t open (the one with the wings on it). His answer: a waterproof satellite cell phone.