All Is Lost [DVD + Digital]
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Some reviewers have mentioned things that bother them. "Our man" shaving? It's a moment that defines the character, agree with the choice or not. The giant container ships not seeing flares? Well, they don't. This is a film where, for an apparently competent seaman, things go wrong. Slowly at first, then with increasing frequency, "our man" just doesn't get a break. A man who has controlled his life, loses that ability.
Some people will want more excitement. But this is, on the whole, a very realistic, very personal, "disaster movie."
Unlike, say Harry Potter or James Bond films, there is real mortal risk for our (unnamed) hero. The outcome is far from guaranteed.
Robert Redford is battered by one lousy turn of luck after another, but he just keeps going. It just keeps getting worse and worse. There is only one alternative, and it is always there for him. So to that extent the film is exciting and suspenseful. But there are no guns, no villains and no betrayals, unless you believe God himself is behind this torture.
It shows once again that a good story trumps all, a lesson I wish Hollywood would buy into, instead of comic book heroes who we all know must triumph. Great stories have been sorely lacking for a good 25 years. This is a great story.
These single focus oeuvres, like biographies, always let if not make the lead shine. And Robert Redford, at 77, is not just an athlete, he's a fine, unstereotyped actor. Very believable. Another reason All is Lost should be on the must-see list.
Several comments: this movie is a tour-de-force in every which way, the likes of which we don't get to see very much. A lot has been made about the fact that there is no dialogue in the movie, but frankly I find it a refreshing take. How many people would dare make a movie without any dialogue? Gutsy call. Second, this movie is written and directed by J. C. Chandor, who made an intriguing debut a couple of years ago with "Margin Call". Now this. Can't wait to see what he'll do next. Third, there is the bravura performance from Robert Redford, now 77 if you can believe it (but looking at least 10-15 years younger that that). In a very different way, this is reminiscent of Tom Hanks in "Castaway", except in this movie there is not "pre" and "after", it's just Redford as Our Man battling the elements at sea. We don't know anything about Our Man's background, his life situation, etc. But we nevertheless are emotionally invested in this character.Read more ›
Working with only one actor and his own 32 page script, director J. C. Chandor ("Margin Call") creates an unusually effective version of man vs. sea. Our man (no name used) is Robert Redford and other than an opening letter to family that he narrates, he only has 2 lines that I can recall. One is a frustrated F-bomb and the other is "Help!" Even with no dialog this may be Redford's best performance in a long career of good ones.
We have no explanation for why our man is sailing alone in the Indian Ocean, but we soon learn that he knows what he's doing. Waking one morning to sea water lapping up against him, he finds a huge cargo container full of sneakers had run into the side of his boat. Enough water had entered the boat that his electrical system and radio were severely damaged. Using some ingenuity he manages to patch up the hull and head to the nearest shipping lane, hopefully to be rescued. A violent storm makes a difficult situation nearly hopeless, but our man preservers.
Great actors are able to use more than well written dialog to deliver the goods. To watch Redford work here should erase any doubts that he is on an elite list. Even mundane scenes like eating a can of beans or taking inventory of his supplies will draw the viewer into his predicament. Perhaps even more remarkable is that Redford at 77, or thereabouts, performed all the physical activity and stunts in this movie. The only stunt men I saw in the credits were safety divers.
If I have any issues with the film, it has to do with how remarkably close a couple cargo ships came to our man's life raft without seeing him. Even with him waving his arms frantically and shooting off flairs, the ships just keep on sailing. Seemed unlikely. Some might quibble with the ending but for me it was just perfect.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie really took me by surprise. At the beginning I honestly had no idea just how riveting and full of suspense it would be. And it's so quiet too! Read morePublished 3 days ago by Yasmin H. McEwen
Survival procedural of a man with no pretense of being Sinbad the sailor.
I will be a long time supporter of Mr. Redford because of this movie.
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