All is Lost is one of the year’s most impressive films. It’s an unintentional sister film to this year’s Gravity. The film could easily be described as “Gravity at Sea” instead of space or “Life of Pi without the tiger”. It’s however very unfair on All is Lost which is much more of a art film in style and tone, it’s basically silent for it’s 100 minutes or so.
The film’s plot is the barest of the bare. Robert Redford plays an unnamed retired man called “Our Man” in the credits. Redford is out in the Indian Ocean and hits a shipping container, which makes a big hole in his ship. The remainder of the film is Redford trying to survive against all odds in a horrible storm and has some terrible luck.
Its director J. C. Chandor approached Redford to star in the film after his previous film Margin Call played his world famous Sundance film festival. It’s the first film Redford has acted in which he didn’t direct in the 8 years. Redford normally concentrates on the Sundance festival and the own films he directs.
Redford gives one of his very finest performances and since he is literally the only character in the film it really all depends on his performance. Redford has always being a very underrated actor and is much more than he was given credit for a long time. Redford’s performance is so believable and you really feel what he is going though. It’s not as intense a film as Gravity but that’s due to its much smaller scale and that’s a good thing in some ways.
The film’s script was something like 30 pages and Redford is almost silent for the entire running time. He does have some speech including some grunts and a few swear words. The swearing ended up being a problem with it’s rating in the US but seems to now have a PG-13 instead of the ridiculous R it was originally given. The BBFC in they’re wisdom gave it a very sensible 12A.
All is Lost’s cinematography is quite daring because at times it’s very experimental which is strange for a “Hollywood” film. It’s one of the few films that employs shaking cam where is totally justified cause it immerses you into the action. The film’s storytelling techniques are equally experimental from its storytelling, which almost told totally visually, and it’s surprisingly ambiguous ending.
All is Lost is one of the year’s very finest films and J. C. Chandor is a director to watch out for in the future due to the strength of this film. Redford has rarely been his powerful and it’s employs interesting storytelling and visual techniques to tell a rather simple story.
Adventure, Action, Drama
Universal Pictures UK
26th December 2013 (UK)