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George At 

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Cast Away

I remember enjoying CAST AWAY in a large theatre in Chicago during its release in 2000. But I had forgot how powerful this mostly quiet story is, driven by another terrific Tom Hanks performance.

Hanks is Fed Ex supervisor Chuck Noland, jetting around Moscow as the film opens. We see him at home for a very quick Christmas with his fiance Kelly (Helen Hunt in a reserved, powerful role).

When the film isn't quiet, it overwhelms you with noise, including one of the most realistic depictions of a jet liner crash in film history.

Noland is plummeted into the ocean in an explosion of fire and water. He drifts onto an island in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of miles from any vehicles searching for the flight.

Director Robert Zemeckis (Flight, The Walk) unspools an incredible story, detailing Noland's four years alone on the tropical island.

The film crew took one year off after filming the opening scenes, during with time Hanks lost 50 lbs.

Noland is a man challenged by the elements and isolation. His conversations with soccer ball Wilson not withstanding, Hanks conveys an incredible range of emotions almost silently.

The final 40 minutes detail Noland's return to life and the challenges that await him at home. How do you adapt when everyone thought you were dead for four years?

Hanks remains silent in many of these moments too, but you'll feel the heartbreak when he realizes that his life can never be the same.

Zemeckis and screenwriter William Broyles (Apollo 13, Flags of Our Fathers) have crafted a huge adventure, a quest for rescue and a personal story that leave you moved.

I must be very in sync with Zemeckis' style, because I often like his films a lot more than audiences. "The Walk" detailing high-wire artist Philippe Petit's walk between the towers of the World Trade Center was one of my favorite films of 2015. Very few saw it.

Alan Silvestri's music score is very small and used sparingly, but when it fills your ears and it's the first thing you've heard in over an hour other than constant waves, it hits you.

CAST AWAY carries a gut punch of emotion during Noland's moments on the island, as well as during Chuck and Kelly's powerful but ill-timed reunion.

It's one of Hanks best and Zemeckis' most cleverly crafted films and gets an A.


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