Friday, February 19, 2010

#10 - Castaway

**Part of an ongoing series of reviews of my top ten favorite movies**

My countdown begins with Castaway, which in my opinion may be the finest movie that Tom Hanks ever acted in. Castaway does not rely on special effects, gratuitous sex scenes, violence or controversial topics to be a compelling and powerful film. Instead, nearly the entire movie is carried, with hardly a word of dialogue or music, by what I wouldn't hesitate to call one of the greatest acting performances in recent times.

Tom Hanks is obviously the major talent here, and here he really proves that he is one of the greatest actors of all time. While the opening and closing sequences of the film do contain conversation and dialogue, the vast majority of the film goes unspoken and in doing so portrays the struggles of a lone man surviving (at times against his will) on a deserted island, and the emotional, physical and psychological tolls it has on a person. The performance here is nothing less than powerful, with Tom Hanks showing a man going from in-charge to being at the mercy of nature, from confident to suicidal, from being a calculating businessman to going slightly insane, and from being in love to having his emotions completely shattered. I've seen few actors put on a performance of this caliber.

The cinematography, while simple, is very effective, consisting of fairly normal, but very effective shots. A feeling of desolation is almost tangible throughout the film, partly due to the lack of a musical score; most of the sound is the ambiance of a deserted island.

The format for this film is simple and nothing groundbreaking, and the story is one that's been done before many times; so why is this on my Top Ten list? In a word, the acting. Very few movies can be carried by (mostly) one actor, and to do so takes an enormous amount of talent; Tom Hanks delivered that and much, much more. As I said above, this is one of THE acting performances of recent times, if not of all time. The emotion shown is tangible and in places heartbreaking, and at other times uplifting and hopeful. For a thought-provoking, powerfully acted movie, I recommend my #10 Top Ten Movie, Castaway.

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