The reunion of the Oscar-winning actor-director team behind Forrest Gump (1994) results in another excellent drama, and one that's far less cloying and more mature than the duo's previous film. Although hailed by critics for gaining and then losing an enormous amount of weight for his role, the more subtly compelling half of Tom Hanks' laudable performance is not his physical transformation. The actor's commitment to crafting an autocratic, obsessive character is a singularly surprising one, given modern-day stars' strong proclivity for playing only heroic, noble leads. The taut script from William Broyles is top-notch, with a flawless traditional structure, an inventive supporting "character" and an ending that, while leaving some audience members dissatisfied, is a realistic and intelligently wrought finale that doesn't cop out with the typically delusional, lame-brained, upbeat conclusion. The director's creative choices, ranging from the staging of a gripping airplane crash to an hour of screen time with no musical score, put Zemeckis back on track as one of the cinema's most talented mainstream talents after some phoned-in hackwork on What Lies Beneath (2000). One of the year's best films, Cast Away represents several of Hollywood's top artists at the peak of their careers.