All Is Lost review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
While nowadays we mostly hear about Robert Redford behind the camera it’s one of the few films he spends in front of it that seems to have the most impact. All is Lost is the ultimate survival tale with Redford giving a performance worthy of serious awards recognition even though he barely says a thing.
The film follows an unnamed elderly man sailing across the ocean until his boat is damaged by a floating shipping container. What starts off as a small problem quickly becomes something much worse when it starts a chain reaction that could easily leave him stranded in the middle of the sea. Using his skills and expertise he must try to stay on top of the many problems he encounters if he wants to stand a chance of getting to land safely.
Directed by J. C Chandor as his follow up to the remarkably verbose Margin Call, All is Lost is an exercise in everything technical, from the shots Chandor uses to the way Redford portrays his silent protagonist, the film is all about form with Redford and Chandor making a fantastic pairing. The film’s grueling shoot only adds to Redford’s stellar performance, a mixture of desperation and fortitude.
The other character to mention is the ocean, a creature with a mind of its own intent on destruction through abject beauty. The man’s connection to the ocean screams everything you need to know about his family, his life and how he needs his isolation just as much as he loathes it.
The films main story may be one of unending optimism and survival but Chandor cleverly fits in plenty of other themes to treat viewers like the corruption of our planet by man as well as the disconnect we all experience from a now semi-automated world as the man finds himself alone in much the same way anyone can be, even if we are surrounded by people. All is Lost isn’t just a title, it’s an opinion, one the film hopefully encourages and dissuades against at the same time