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Cast Away

Tom Hanks re-teamed with his Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis for this entertaining and extremely well-made Oscar-nominated drama.

Hanks plays efficiency expert Chuck Noland, who works for a global courier service, whom I refuse to name here, lest I extend the brutal amount of product placement Cast Away afforded it.

Hitching a ride back to America in one of said courier company's planes after rejigging the Moscow office, Chuck's plane crashes and he is washed up on a deserted island. There he goes through the deserted island staples - failed escape attempts, cracking coconuts, creating fire, talking to himself.

All Chuck has to keep him company are several courier packages which wash up on the beach, one of which contains a volleyball named Wilson.

Hanks famously underwent a massive amount of weight loss to portray the effects of living on a deserted island. This broke up the shooting schedule for a year, during which time Zemeckis made another whole movie - What Lies Beneath.

Zemeckis has always been adventurous in his use of special effects, and you might not think it, but Cast Away has more special effects shots than most of his other movies (like Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Back to the Future). All the night scenes were shot at day, and computer coloured to look like night, and pretty much every background featured some sort of CGI element.

Practically every aspect of the film succeeds - the plane crash is a magnificent action set piece; the pervading silence during the film enhances Chuck's sense of isolation; and Hanks is undeniably powerful in his performance.

But Helen Hunt is kind of annoying as the woman he left behind.

Still, Cast Away is a reassuringly watchable film the holds up to repeat viewings well.