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Movie Review: All is Lost

All is Lost is an adventure drama directed and written by J.C. Chandor. The film is a one-man show that is lead by Robert Redford.

Simply referred to as “Our Man” in the credits, Redford plays a sailor on a solo voyage across the Indian Ocean whose ship is damaged by a stray cargo container.  The premise is refreshingly simplistic and masterfully executed. There is no bombastic plot that involves time travel or an evil villain intent on word domination. It’s simply about a single man who is striving to survive for as long as possible.

From the opening of the movie everything that can go wrong does go wrong. He encounters difficulties like flooding, exhaustion, shortage of food and drinkable water, sharks, storms, and capsizing. His endurance is unremarkable; he never gives up. That’s what the audience is given to root for, not a hero to save the girl and defeat the villain, but for a lone man to simply survive the elements.

No background information given about Redford’s character and ironically enough he is very relatable because of this. The audience can not help put to put themselves in his shoes. What would we do if we were in this terrible position? How long would we survive? Would we think of a way to solve these problems? He isn’t some master sailor. His knowledge doesn’t go further than a couple of introductory sailor courses would teach him. Often times he has to refer to instruction manuals to help him overcome obstacles.

We don’t know whom he is writing to during his opening monologue and it doesn’t matter. It could be a beloved family member or a stranger who could find his message washed up on the beach. Each viewer will interpret it in different ways.

There is very little dialogue and not much is needed. Redford is such an incredible actor that he can convey all his emotions through the entire film through his expressions. It is a great testament of how much can be said without actually saying it. The movie is visual storytelling at its finest.

Recommended If…

  •  You can enjoy a film with almost no dialogue
  • Want a gripping tale of survival
  • Looking for a film with a simple but well executed premise
  • Would like to see a showcase performance of Robert Redford

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