All is Lost

2014-04-11 09:35
What it's about:

While on a solo expedition on a yacht in the Indian Ocean, a resourceful sailor (Robert Redford) wakes to find his ship taking on water after a collision with a shipping container left adrift.

With his navigation equipment and radio disabled, he's suddenly thrown into the path of a violent storm. Having patched the breached hull, he survives the tempest, but just barely. With only a sextant and nautical maps to chart his progress, he has to hope currents will eventually take him into the path of a passing vessel.

But as his meagre supplies dwindle, he soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face.

What we thought:

Although snubbed by the academy Robert Redford has been hailed for his performance in this experimental drama. In All is Lost there is basically no dialogue, the entire movie is set at sea and Robert Redford plays a character who we don’t really get to know.

Some of the only dialogue in the film happens in the opening narration which seems to be the contents of a written letter and it is also the only clue about “Our Man” (Robert Redford) we get.

We don’t know who he is, where he comes from and what his story is. We can assume that he is well off (he is sailing on a yacht), that he has family waiting as he wears a wedding a band and that this seems to be some vacation or maybe bucket list expedition as he is a man well in his years. It is as if he does not really exist outside his present circumstances.

While on his solo expedition disaster strikes when he wakes up one morning to his boat flooding after it had collided with a container. Naturally one would think that the protagonist would act in panic but the sailor is calm, assesses the situation and devises a plan to fix the hole in his boat.

What follows are his attempts to stay afloat and characteristic of a disaster movie calamity after calamity strikes. He gets thrown into a storm and barely survives his battered boat, Virginia Jean, who doesn’t make it though and he is left to the mercy of the sea on a life raft. Armed with a few meagre supplies, a sextant and nautical maps he hopes the currents will eventually take him into the path of a vessel.

It is very nerve wrecking to watch this man silently drifting alone at sea trying to survive. The waves and the sharks lurking builds on the suspense. And the silence. He says nothing; he doesn’t even talk to himself. There was a point in the movie that I just wanted him to react to his circumstance, scream, or cry, anything. He does break this silence with a frustrated, fuck, directed to the heavens. At this point you’ll just want him to be saved already for him and for yourself.

The special effects, the survival suspense and Redford’s character portrayal can only sustain the movie for so long as at a certain point the drama becomes tedious and a bit boring. The film is long and the lack of character and plot development is to its detriment.

This movie is not for everyone, many will watch it and few will really enjoy it. It does score tops marks though for trying something different.

Robert Redford’s lost at sea drama scores top marks in the experimental category but fails to engross in his quest for survival.
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