Quick Review: All Is Lost

In All Is Lost, Robert Redford battles against the elements to survive when his boat is damaged by a wayward shipping container. It’s a gripping tale of a man lost at sea, where Murphy’s Law is in full effect as everything that can go wrong does indeed go wrong.

Directed by J.C. Chandor (Margin Call), All Is Lost features only one cast member (Redford) and essentially no dialogue. It’s a bold filmmaking decision that pays off in dividends. Redford commands the screen as ‘Our Man’ – an aged sailor who’s clearly unprepared for the trials ahead but who bears considerable grit and ingenuity.

As his title suggests, Our Man is essentially an avatar for the audience. He has no backstory but his one-man battle against the elements draws you into his plight. His every move becomes scrutinised; I found myself constantly barking orders to him (in my mind at least!) and hoping that he would take some action or notice something that I had. He doesn’t always obey mind you, but this just pushed me closer and closer to the edge of my seat.

By the end of the film I was on the precipice. I deeply wanted Our Man to survive his ordeal because by this point he was me, rather a reflection of me and the emotions that I had poured and read into the character over the course of the movie. The result is a tremendous story of limited scope but also of high tension on the high seas.

Utterly compelling, All Is Lost is a simplistic but nail-biting story of survival made with novel filmmaking twists.

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