Sunday, August 28, 2022

Castaway: the Art of the Slow Start


By Claire Booth

I recently re-watched Castaway for the first time in years. It was as good as I remembered. It was also a lot slower than I remembered. And I mean that in a good way.

Nowadays the plane crash would take place within the first 10 minutes. There would be a brisk, stylishly edited montage to show how devoted Tom Hanks’s character is to his FedEx job and then blam, the plane goes down. 

I totally overdressed for this place.
Know how long director Robert Zemeckis takes to get to that scene? 21 minutes and 46 seconds. It’s not 21 minutes and 46 seconds of slow drag either; they’re good scenes, full of plot points and character development and foreshadowing.

I don’t think there’s any way a film paced like that could get made today. People—from studio executives to viewers—would demand that the action start much, much sooner. Which is too bad. There’s a place for a movie (or a book) with a steady build before it drops you off the cliff. To me, that means I’m in good hands, and I’m in for a hell of a ride.

See? A hell of a ride!

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