Cast Away (12) 143 mins * t at Six years after their Oscar-winning collaboration on Forrest Gump, director Robert Zemeckis and star Tom Hanks have reunited to bring us the tale of a modern-day Robinson Crusoe. Hanks’ Chuck Noland couldn’t be further removed from charmed simpleton Gump. He's a FedEx systems engineer, a flag- bearer for US capitalism who dashes about the globe exhorting the locals to pull their fingers out and do things the American way. Chuck is so dedicated to his job that his private life takes second place. He does, however, manage to squeeze in a quick proposal to girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt) before boarding a Christmas Eve flight. ’l’ll be right back,’ he promises; but fate has something else in store.

The plane crashes during a ferocious storm in the South Pacific and strands Chuck, the sole survivor, upon a desolate island. At a stroke, he is stripped of all the accoutrements of modern civilisation and returned to the Stone Age. The flotsam he rescues from the surf - a box full of videotapes, a volleyball, a pair of

ice skates, a party dress appears heartbreakingly useless. But Chuck is a can-do kinda guy and soon finds a way to turn these objects to use. Once he has mastered the secrets of physical survival, however, he has to discover how to overcome loneliness and despair. The makers of Cast Away have taken as much trouble to achieve verisimilitude as Defoe did with his tale. Zemeckis and Hanks co-shot the film in two parts with a one-year gap in between to allow Hanks to shed 55 pounds and grow a suitably shaggy beard. But this impressive physical transformation would count for little if we couldn’t identify with the film's protagonist.

HORROR Lost Souls (15) 97 mins i: *

We first see Maya looking after children in a playground: it’s a normal enough Sight except that on closer inspection Maya is Winona Ryder With terribly pallid skin and haunted eyes. The sudden arrival of John Hurt in priest's clothing comodes With some very gothic facial expressions, lighting

Like Defoe‘s Crusoe, Hanks' Chuck Noland is an Everyman

(Jason Best)

Consistantly dark religious vision

and music and it becomes a certainty that we are in the realm of the demonic posseSSion mowe.

A first warning to potential Viewers is to only see this film if you are Catholic or have an unflinching belief in the power of exorcism. Very, very little is thrown to those whose belief system is outSide the fiery remit of good and eVil, redemption and Satan. lndeed, not much is given to those who believe in good and God either: Lost Sou/s, as the

Like Defoe’s hero, Hanks' Chuck is an Everyman who embodies the values of his age. Crusoe survived thanks to a mix of self-reliance and divine providence, and the same can be said of his modern counterpart. Chuck is energetic, resourceful, the consummate problem solver. But just as Crusoe followed his 'secret hints’, so does Chuck obey a seemingly whimsical inner prompting. Of the packages he salvages, there is one that he doesn't open and it is this one, significantly adorned with angel wings, that gives him the will to survive.

I Genera/ re/ease from Fri 72 Jan.

title has it, is strictly on the dark side.

Poor Maya has had a rough life which has left her With a nose for supernatural gomgs on. Before fifteen minutes of the film’s up she has experienced some hair-raising Visitations and assisted Hurt in an exorcism, but this is merely the starter. Maya attains herOic status through her efforts to save the world from the coming of the anti-Christ. Said DeVil is revealed to be on his way by the inmate of a psychiatric hospital and so a ’race against time' begins to find and destroy him

Lost Sou/s becomes increasingly one- dimensional after Satan's vessel is located, the faithlessness of Ben Chaplin's Successful crime writer promises an interesting conflict of truth-claims, but none is delivered as the religious tide takes no prisoners. Lost Sou/s goes all out for Visual effect and its style is certainly consistent (ie dark), but director Janusz Kaminski’s impressive skills as a cinematographer on Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan do not transfer so well to a small, superstition-heavy mowe like this. (Hannah Fries) I Genera/ release from Fri 5 Jan.

Film soundtracks The first fight scene n Ang Lees martiaé arts perioo dra'na Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon wt 'eate \eu stunned Yot; 2e neter seen kung tt. like this Yoci'xe neter heard kung like this either ~ no noooen-sobi‘ding chops and shouts of iii-ya" The SOUnd effects are more Subtle flapping robes, whistling Winds, etc There's also the original score iSony *titt‘ by composer Tun Dun, txhich, during the initial fight and chase acrOss the rooftops of ancient Peking, is a barrage of drum beats Duns score also emphasises the dramatic duality of Lee's film, particularly \\'lll‘i the (iCl‘lng|\ beautiful/sad cello solos by Yo-Yo Ma, who preVIOusly collaborated \tith Dun On 'Symphony T997 , the musm to commemorate Hong Kong's reintegration \‘vith China If you weren't one of the lucky few. to catch Dun's live interpretation at London's Barbican late last year, acquire this SOundtrack and thrill to the sound of kung fu fighting

Compilation albums iistially disappoint, being mere merchandising The rock selection on Almost Famous (DreamWorks ****i R Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical film abOut a young Journalist on tour With a band in the early 70s doesn't disappoint It's accurate to the film's setting and though it features well- known artists The Allman Brothers, Led Zep, Yes »— the songs aren’t the usual suspects So we also get Todd Rundgren’s ’lt Wouldn’t Have lvlade Any Difference and The Seeds' ‘lvli- Farmer'. There's also ‘Fever 009’ by the film’s fictitious band Stillwater made up of cast members), which you (an soundcheck on the web at almost- famouscom

The score to Darron Aronofsky's adaptation of Hubert Selby Jr’s harrowmg novel about addiction Requiem For A Dream lNonesuch *tttt) boasts an intriguing combination Clint Mansell (of Pop Wi. Eat Itself fame, also the composer of the score for Aronofsky's debut Pi) and Kronos Quartet They produce an appropriately bleak soundscape, alternating pulsating and grinding electronic s0unds With solemn strings in a weird retro-futuristic way The overture combines strings With beats and a rhythm Mansell derived from the punches in a Bruce Lee mowe That SOund of kung fu fighting again (Miles Fielder,l

In the bleak retro-future of Requiem For A Dream

SJan—l8 Jan 2001 THE LIST 3'!