DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS ROEG
COUNTRY: ENGLAND 1987
BASED ON: Lucy Irvine's Book
MUSIC BY: Stanley Myers
CAST: Oliver Reed and Amanda Donohoe
SUPER FEATURES: Life can be fun and challenging....
Of all Nicholas Roeg's films, there is one that stands out very nicely and shows that you don't have to say and do something meaningful to make a film that is very good, and get the same things across.
CASTAWAY, is pretty much like that. A simple story, that in itself is meaningless, but as a whole, it is important, because it is about the way we relate to each other, before, during and after all the games we play just to communicate with each other.
A reasonably well to do gentleman wants to go spend a year in a desert island, and he places an advertisement for a lover for that year in the
'paradise island'. In comes Lucy, a very independent woman, who decides for her own reasons that the idea is an exciting event for her own
growth. She wants to do this for herself, not for another person. And off they go to the island paradise. Because of the English and island laws, they are forced to 'marry' so they can get their passports in order. And to the chosen island they finally arrive. It really is a paradise of sorts.
For the duration of the year, the two manage to withstand each other, amidst personal crisis, and territorial problems with each other. They learn to fish and what they can eat. Things get tough, and Gerald is getting diseased feet, and she is losing weight. And he is even more disappointed in her because she does not live up to her 'marriage' agreement, by denying him sex.
The film is a veritable gourmet of visual images, aided by a few lines here and there. In between there is more tension that a bunch of shark infested waters. And the camera never takes sides, although in the end, Lucy's decision to leave after her one year is up, is looked at as a cop-out, but she has her reasons. She has experienced what she wanted to try, and is finished. Gerald has dedicated himself to this lifestyle, and has pretty much left the social milieu behind, although he does now mix in with the indigenous cultures in various other islands. He has become an important fixture in their lives because he can fix the old boat engines, and has a mechanical ability which few are capable of.
Beautifully photographed, with very fun moments. (" Isn't it better than sex " says Gerald about an imaginary meal he is talking about). Amanda Donohoe is excellent, and not self conscious in a role which is not comfortable to all, and to someone like Oliver Reed, who is known to be a rebel rouser. Even he, locked up in an island to make a film, seems like an odd thing. But both of them are excellent, and really show a lot more acting ability and communication than most people will ever have in their own lives.
And it is the type of film that I personally wish Nicholas would do much more of. Like WALKABOUT (1972), it just does its thing without having to say very much. It just speaks for its own actions, rather than have to hammer us with meaningful situations, which are more showy than they are helpful. And a lot of it may be because the diary which this is based on, is an extensive study of two people's minds, which really helps the story develop. We already have the changes, and the actors only have to play them. And I think the independent Ms Irvine, would even enjoy the film, maybe even Gerald, if ever a film theatre would make it to the 'end of the world'.
GREAT FILM. VISUALLY STUNNING.
FUN FUN FUN
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