Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is a man who likes to live by the clock. As an employee of FedEx, he prides himself on his ability to be on time for every appointment, delivery and collection. A routine haulage flight goes wrong and Chuck finds himself washed up on a deserted island far away from civilisation.
During his stint on the island, Chuck finds ways to live and even creates his own friend - Wilson - for emotional attachment. He finds ways to keep time by inventing a calendar that works from the sun's movements before eventually, four years later, collecting enough debris to build a raft for his attempted escape.
Cast Away is not a drama with a gripping story that finds you on the edge of your seat, but moreover a quest for one man to find himself. For nearly an hour-and-a-half Hanks stars on screen against no-one but a bloody volleyball and a greying corpse. Because it is able to capture the innermost feelings of a man with - quite literally - nothing but the clothes on his back, Cast Away will be revered as a film of the highest order and Hanks as a star capable of holding an audience's attention despite the nomadic landscape around him.
A nod should be given to the finders of Chuck's island. Filmed in the Fijian archipelago, the production crew did well to hide the surrounding islands to keep the feeling of Chuck's plight. According to IMDb, the majority of the sound had to be redone in the studio because the sound of the surf was overpowering on the quieter shots.
It does, however, have its niggles. Whilst the loosely constructed storyline surrounding the crash does enhance the loneliness of Chuck it does drag on both before and after the island scenes. The biggest niggle is the final part of the ending - I won't give it away - which seems very open ended. I can only think that director Robert Zemeckis wanted to show a stark contrast between Chuck's life on and his life off the island.
Despite this, it is, all-in-all, a well constructed drama.