Posted December 16, 2013 by editor in Film Reviews

All Is Lost Review


J C Chandor (Margin Call) breaks with tradition in this one man show about a guy in the ocean on  boat where bad things happen.

Robert redford we wind wakes one day to find a hole has been punctures in the side of his boat whilst out on a lonely escaped in the madagascaar seas. An experienced sailor, Redford’s character sets about fixing the issue as best he can, but it isn’t long before the weather turns against him and soon hope and that that relates to it is slowly taken piece by piece from him as he struggles to survive.

This film is in no hurry to get there. And it’s the slow methodical work that redford does to solve each situation. The care he takes to follow the basic rules of survival at sea, fighting against stormy weather all the way, and working each single problem (punctures, a sinking ship, the lost of his water) that keeps you glued to what is happening on an otherwise dialogue free screen. (Redford literally has less lines that Schwarzenegger’s The Terminator).

It’s an almost hypnotic experience. Calming in the sense of living each moment with the character, but tense as the stakes go up and up and his chances of survival go down.

Like gravity earlier, this is a film about a person fight against the lonely odds in a wide endless space that not only offers no hope, but is full of dangers both to do with the climate as well as the contents that threaten to take the very life from our only character – but not before it breaks his will first.

Chandor directs the film well coming in close to make sure we are with the character as the do and have things happened to him. But also pulling out from time to time both above and below to show the full expanse, and often beauty of the seascape around him.

There is often a reliance on CGI – to be fair they were hardly going to capture those storms for real whether they wanted to use stunt doubles or not. But for the most part it is an effective menace that is captured behind Redford, only occasionally in need of adjustment.

It is great to see Redford staking his claim in the sand in the twilight era of his career and to come out winning on the other side.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have him and Sandra Bullock fighting the way to Oscar glory all in the name of the spirit and will of the human condition.

4 Stars




Steven Hurst