All Is Lost

All Is Lost


Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

With shades of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man And The Sea in its depiction of man against the elements, All Is Lost is a gripping seagoing survival struggle with Robert Redford at the top of his game as the lone sailor fighting for his life.

The performance is a physical tour de force because there is virtually no dialogue as Redford's lone sailor negotiates each new challenge with courage and ingenuity. Nature proves as always to be a hard task master.

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The anonymous seafarer is cast adrift after his yacht hits a floating container and starts to take on water. He heads inexorably for the eye of a storm, is tossed and lashed and eventually starts to sink - but not before the ever resourceful mariner has launched the life-raft and takes refuge. With a sextant and a map he starts to navigate his way towards the shipping lanes in the hope of being spotted.

Even the life-raft starts to disintegrate and supplies dwindle as sharks circle underneath. Not only one but two vessels pass by, towering over the tiny craft, as the sailor desperately tries to attract attention.

He begins to write his own obituary to be placed in a jar - suggesting that whatever else had happened in his life he was a fighter until the end. - with the act of throwing it in to the water meant to symbolise that the end is nigh and all hope has gone.

Redford, now in his mid-70s, also seems to have thrown caution to the winds and waves, looking craggy and leathery without a touch of professional vanity. It's a courageous performance in more ways than one - relying on a naturalistic portrayal devoid of histrionics which ultimately proves commanding and magnetic.

Technically it is tautly shot and tightly edited with a musical score by Alex Ebert that is haunting and effective without being intrusive.

Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2013
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One man must battle to survive after his boat sinks in the ocean.
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Read more All Is Lost reviews:

Angus Wolfe Murray **1/2

Director: J C Chandor

Writer: J C Chandor

Starring: Robert Redford

Year: 2013

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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