ALL IS LOST
(directed by J.C. Chandor, 2013)
**** (out of 5)
> In only his second feature (after the excellent debut of 2011’s deft MARGIN CALL) director J.C. Chandor fashions a tight, taut, no-frills survival thriller that is virtually a one-man-movie for Robert Redford, who gives what will surely be regarded as one of the finest performances of his long career- and at 77 years old, it is one hell of an achievement on a purely physical basis!
. There is not an ounce of fat here. (On the film and on the man.) The entire action takes place at sea, as Redford wakes up during a solo deep-sea voyage, to discover a wayward shipping container full of tennis shoes has gouged a big hole in his vessel, which is quickly taking on water. We watch in tense horror as things go downhill from there. Our solo hero is given virtually no exposition outside a quick flash-forward to the reading of a message in a bottle, launched near the moment of his greatest despair, expressing helpless regrets to the distant loved ones he is convinced he would never see again. Epic storms follow- shark contaminated waters, and close calls with rescue bring our intrepid but beleaguered hero to the brink of hopelessness, as he begins to suspect that all is truly lost. We never see another person or hear another human voice, and seeing it through his eyes, begin to agree with this bleak assessment.
. Actually, I found ALL IS LOST to be absolutely predictable. If you had asked me to tell you the story from the little I knew before the curtain rose, I would have pinpointed every plot development, down to the one word Redford speaks aloud to himself. (Think about it. Put yourself in his utterly hopeless situation. What would you say when you discovered all was lost?)
. Nonetheless, the pleasure is in the execution, and here rising director and lone star just got everything right. Redford really should have been remembered at the Oscars. The film and the director both deserved a lot more attention. ALL IS LOST is very fine filmmaking. (And considering the lack of dialogue, it sure would be interesting to get a peek at the script…) It will keep you riveted until the breathless end.
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