Deschanel's intriguing variation on Defoe's novel employs a clever if contrived anti-colonial twist. After a storm, ruthless slave-trader Crusoe (Quinn) is washed up on a desert island, where he develops survival skills and a capacity for solitude. The footsteps in the sand and the obsequious Friday, however, are nowhere to be found; instead, he saves a black slave (Graham) intended for human sacrifice by fearsome cannibals, arrogantly christening him Lucky ('I have no one to sell you to'). But the next day he wakes to find himself sharing the island with Lucky's headless corpse and a physically and intellectually superior warrior (Sapara) who is clearly unimpressed by Crusoe's efforts to impose the white man's language, table manners and 'civilised' lifestyle on his own sophisticated culture. On the back foot from the outset, Crusoe is forced to endure various indignities and re-examine his own racist elitism. The film works best when dialogue is kept to a minimum, partly because much of it is embarrassingly bad, partly because the island's exotic beauty and the dynamics of the pair's relationship are best conveyed through Deschanel's meticulous attention to telling visual minutiae.
Cast and crew
Walon Green, Christopher Logue
Aidan Quinn Ade Sapara Warren Clarke Hepburn Graham Shane Rimmer Elvis Payne Jimmy Nail Timothy Spall