Two other aspects I did
not cover were the foreshadowing and symmetry of this piece.
Z is very subtle, and since the
audience alone knows where Hanks is heading, we have that Hitchcockian moment
where he does not take his knife keychain, the moment where he takes off his
shoes, where he removes his wristwatch. And we all go NO! Keep those things -
you might need them! But they are underplayed beautifully. No overtness to
spoil the calm progression of inevitability.
Structural symmetry is evident
somewhat with the time scales Hanks has.
First, time is the only thing
that is important to him, when he never has enough.
It is not too long before he has
nothing but time.
At the end, he is back in real
civie time, but he is more painfully aware of time than anyone has a right to
be. Now begins his search for balance.
Visually, Zemeckis really scores.
First we are confronted with the
vastness of Hanks' job and a sea of packages.
Second with the vastness of the
sea around him.
Third, Zemeckis closes the loop
as Hanks voluntarily casts himself away from the pain of his tattered life and
immerses himself in the absolute heartland of America. Dirt in every direction.
The only evidence of people are stopsigns and gravel roads.
This is the moment when he really
takes stock of his life. Everything to that point has been either drone work as
the efficiency expert, or survival mode where he thinks of nothing but a return
to civilization and his love.
Finding more of a wasteland on
his return - the girl who almost waited yet still wants him, a business
advanced possibly beyond his ability to compete in it, friends whose lives he
has not been a part of for too long - nothing is left, ravaged by the slow
relentless wash of time, as steady and unending as the waves wearing away at
the pitiful rock the fates dumped him on.
But there is hope, embodied in a
package that washes ashore bearing the wings of an angel, delivering him some
sanity and a purpose to his days of infinite patience -get off the island, find
the person to whom that package belongs, and hand it over.
This quest also delivers him to
the dry, dusty, and gently rolling hills. The package truly a message of hope
from home - safety from the crush of rolling water and cruel elements - a
lifeline directly from the land of the free and home of the brave, where angels
and cowgirls blend into one.
| Footnotes: I suppose I should rave about
Zemeckis for a bit. He is a superb director, and is one of a handful that can
excel in different genres. I could imagine the result if Peckinpah had directed
Anyone sensitive to
irony trapped on that island would find it maddening in itself to think that
when he absolutely had to be there on time they dropped him in the drink and
tortured him with an occasional fan mail from some flounder. But Hanks does not
vent on FedEx, I suppose in part because he went down with the ship, and
despite their valiant efforts to save them and him, he was the only one that
got out alive. So there is some survivor guilt on top of it. (Does Richard
Hatch have survivor guilt for playing the way he did? Interesting to
| *God rest his