It takes some balls to set a movie in the middle of the ocean and only have one character who speaks almost no lines of dialogue.
You’ve got to have a director who is supremely confident in himself and an actor who can command the screen with a glance or a tilt of his head.
We get that in Writer/Director J.C. Chandor and Robert Redford.
All Is Lost tells the story of a man who is sailing the Indian Ocean. One morning, he wakes up to discover that his boat has rammed against an old floating shipping container that’s left a hole on the side of his boat. As it starts to take on water, he loses his navigation equipment, his radio and electricity. He’s now lost at sea and uses every bit of will and his seamanship knowledge to survive.
The film is gripping from the very first scene to the last and by the end, you’re almost exhausted from the experience.
Redford is truly amazing. With virtually no dialogue, he’s got to keep things interesting for the audience; you’ve got to see the struggle in his eyes and you’ve got to feel what he’s going through. And we feel every moment.
We know nothing about his character except that he like’s organic food (he finds a can of organic beans floating in the water), he’s married (he’s wearing a wedding ring) and he knows what he’s doing when it comes to his boat. But in actuality, we don’t need to know anything about him because Redford is so mesmerizing here. This is one of the main reasons why I think All Is Lost blows Gravity out of the water. In Gravity, we know all of the backstory on Sandra Bullock’s and George Clooney’s characters but I couldn’t have cared less who lived or died in that movie. Add to that, Bullock’s character talks to herself throughout the film to the point that it was actually distracting. That movie was all about “acting!” All Is Lost is about… being.
All Is Lost is one of the best films of the year and its star, Robert Redford, is phenomenal.