Release Date: October 18, 2013 (limited)
Studio: Roadside Attractions
Director: J.C. Chandor
Screenwriter: J.C. Chandor
Starring: Robert Redford
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: AllisLostfilm.com
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Academy Award winner Robert Redford stars in “All Is Lost,” an open-water thriller about one man’s battle for survival against the elements after his sailboat is destroyed at sea. Written and directed by Academy Award nominee J.C. Chandor (“Margin Call”) with a musical score by Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), the film is a gripping, visceral and powerfully moving tribute to ingenuity and resilience. Deep into a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, an unnamed man (Redford) wakes to find his 39-foot yacht taking on water after a collision with a shipping container left floating on the high seas. With his navigation equipment and radio disabled, the man sails unknowingly into the path of a violent storm. Despite his success in patching the breached hull, his mariner’s intuition, and a strength that belies his age, the man barely survives the tempest.
Using only a sextant and nautical maps to chart his progress, he is forced to rely on ocean currents to carry him into a shipping lane in hopes of hailing a passing vessel. But with the sun unrelenting, sharks circling and his meager supplies dwindling, the ever-resourceful sailor soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face.
In 2011, director Michel Mazanavicius brought a black and white silent film called The Artist to the Cannes Film Festival. The film dazzled the French crowd, but bringing a silent film into the trend-setting North American market was anything but a safe bet. Released domestically in January of 2012, the film went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture proving that American audiences were willing to accept films with limited speaking roles.
As a result of the critical success of The Artist, we have seen some daring and spectacular projects of scripts with limited dialogue. Ang Lee’s Life of Pi was basically a boy on a boat talking to a tiger with little verbal sparring after their ship capsizes. And this week, Alfonso Cuaron opened Gravity to $55 plus million despite the film having but two characters drifting alone in space with limited conversational communication. Both films proved to be both a critical and commercial success and The Artist Effect may have paved their way to box office glory.
The Artist Effect is next to be realized in J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost. Starring Robert Redford (and ONLY Robert Redford), All is Lost showcases the story of a sailor who after a freak collision with a floating shipping container must use his resources to stay afloat and alive against both the odds and the elements that harshly attack survival.
With the ship taking on water, Redford’s character must use his resourcefulness as a seasoned boatman to counter the inevitability of his sinking vessel. With limited tools and a survival kit that can provide for a single person a handful of days on the ocean, we watch engrossingly as the elements take their toll both physically and mentally on the deteriorating sailor. With food dwindling, fresh water unavailable and a life raft being torn apart with each impending storm, all is but lost for the seaman and a message in a jar seeking forgiveness tossed to the sea might be the only lasting connection to the loved ones left behind.
J.C. Chandor showed that he could handle the complexities of multiple characters in a complex financial market with 2011’s Margin Call. With All is Lost, Chandor strips away subplots, multiple character developments and compounded locations for a simpler story that rides the back of the credible Redford who commands the screen in a dazzling performance that will be considered one of his best.
The script, also penned by Chandor, stays away from many of the usual clichés and easy jump scares or moments of awe that would be easily picked from the Stereotype Tree by a less confident director. The story is not fed to its audience with narration or a man talking to himself to education the audience on his thought process. Instead, All is Lost trusts that the audience will be able to understand the decisions and actions of the protagonist and in this venture the film succeeds admirably.
Robert Redford shines as the sole actor on the call sheet and only once before Academy nominated actor (for 1973’s The Sting), might finally get his due with his riveting portrayal of a man that slowly loses hope in his survival.
Simple and without plot edges, All is Lost was worth the excursion. movieboxoffices.wordpress.com