All is Lost review: All is not lost in Redfords new release

Posted on 25 November 2013
By Charlie Elgar
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Robert Redford stars as the unnamed protagonist in the solo maritime mission – All is Lost, demonstrating perfectly the phrase that sometimes, less is more.

The story follows the relatively mysterious life of ‘Our Man’ Redford. We know virtually nothing about this man, apart from the fact that he seems to be a fairly resourceful, certainly experienced seaman.

When a stray shipping container collides with his yacht in the middle of the ocean, we watch over Redford as he battles the earth’s elements in a struggle to survive.

Director J.C. Chandor creates a very personal film, with the viewer gaining access to no other character but Redford.

We track his somewhat choppy journey across the ocean, optimistically pleading for his survival for the entire 106 minute run-time.

Chandor faces Redford with stereotypical scenarios of films such as this: the deterioration of his navigation equipment, the presence of sharks, being ignored by passing cargo ships and so on. But for some reason this film just seems…different.

At the age of 77, Redford is considered a veteran in the world of actors, but he performs in such a way that couldn’t be emulated by many in the industry striving to reach his calibre.

The film encompasses a beautiful combination of qualities: Chandor uses stunning visuals and an enticing soundtrack to gain the viewer’s attention, whilst Redford creates a character who at first seems comfortable, motivated and assured, but as time passes, a significant level of doubt kicks in and he appears to crumble, inevitably losing hope.

Although what makes this film so intriguing and inviting is the one-man band, this could also be the movie’s one and only downfall.

The lack of dialogue becomes slightly tedious for the viewer, and they may find themselves praying for the entrance of a new character…a friend, enemy – anyone!

Despite this, just as I was reaching a certain level of boredom, the story picked up just in time as I felt the full force of Redford’s fishing line beginning to yank me back in to the action.

Overall, the film is a success. Admittedly there are only a few actors out there who could have made it work, Redford being included in that select ‘few’.

Diverging from the limited work he has previously brought us, Chandor jumps in the deep end with All is Lost, taking a risk that seems to have paid off.