In the upcoming film All Is Lost, Robert Redford stars in the open-water thriller depicting 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. Chandolor, the film is gripping, visceral and powerfully moving, Not only is the story itself compelling, but so is the production of the film as the cast is composed by just one actor. Acting solo is a tough job and a challenge that only the confident and talented take on. In anticipation of the upcoming film, we are taking a look at other films in Hollywood that only (or mostly) have or actor.
6. Moon (2009)
Frequently regarded as the all-time greatest solo performances in the history of cinema, Sam Rockwell performs in the British science fiction drama film, Moon. The film follows the story of an astronaut alone on a lunar mining base. The only other actors present in the film are actors that appear on video monitors or in voice only — no direct interaction with Rockwell, leaving him to act against himself. The film won one (Outstanding Debut by British Writer, Director or Producer) out of two BAFAT nominations and holds a 89% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
5. 127 Hours
Based on the real life story of Aron Ralston’s trip to the chasm that would claim his right arm, James Franco stars in Danny Boyle’s biographic survival drama, 127 Hours. The film follows the mountain climber as he becomes trapped by a boulder in an isolated slot canyon in Blue John Canyon, and his survival against all offs. The film was received well by critics and audiences and it was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Franco.
4. Silent Running (1971)
Bruce Dern stars in the science fiction futuristic film, Silent Running. The film is based in the future where all flora is extinct on Earth, an astronaut is given order to destroy the last of Earth’s plant life being kept in a greenhouse on board a spacecraft. Silent Running is one of the earliest examples of a Hollywood feature that relies on a singular actor in a high-concept situation. The film, even today, has accumulated a dedicated fan base and is seen as a classic film.
3. Buried (2010)
A movie with, as it seems, a non-existent plot, only actor, and only filmed in one small enclosed location, Buried, had all the elements of a disastrous film. However, the film blew the critics away. Buried, follows the story about an Iraq-based American civilian truck driven Paul Conroy (played by Ryan Reynolds) who is attacked and buried alive in a wooden coffin with only lighter, flask, flashlight knife, glow sticks, pen and a mobile phone. Even though the film was made on extremely low-budget, it achieved surprising success. Buried has an 87% rating on the Tomoatometer on Rotten Tomatoes and although overlooked by critics, it was nominated for awards, including the MTV ‘Best Scared-As-Shit Performance’.
2. Cast Away (2000)
Although Cast Away does indeed have a significant amount of actors, it still had the same idea as all the other films on this list – man alone with himself fighting against all odds and the uncontrollable elements of mother nature. Cast Away, follows the story of a FedEx executive stranded on an island forced to transform himself physically and emotionally to survive a crash landing. Cast Away was written by William Broyles and Robert Zemeckis, both craft a truly entertaining picture about alienation and companionship. Tom Hanks is a genuine revelation in the main role and does an amazing job of leading a movie where his main co-star is a volleyball. The film was well received with audience as well as critics as it won two Oscar nominations and one Golden Globe win for Hanks winning Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.
1. All Is Lost (2013)
This December, the highly anticipated Robert Redford film All Is Lost will be released. Thought to become one of the best one man shows of all time, the the open-water thriller depicts one man’s battle for survival against the elements after his sailboat is destroyed at sea. Using only a sextant and nautical maps to chart his progress, Redford is forced to rely on ocean currents to carry him into a shipping lane in hopes of hailing a passing vessel. 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 bound to be a box office hit.