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All Is Lost

D: J.C. Chandor / 106m

Cast: Robert Redford

All Is Lost is that cinematic rarity: a one-man show that really is a one-man show. Redford is in nearly every shot in this compelling movie about the courage to survive when a sailing trip goes from bad to worse to terrifying. Waking to find that his sailing boat has collided with a shipping container, and it has punched a hole in the side, Redford – whose character is simply known in the credits as ‘Our Man’ – patches the hole but finds himself unable to call for help, his radio having suffered water damage in the collision. Alone, but determined to get help or get home, Our Man finds himself next dealing with a terrifying storm… and the dreadful aftermath. Over the course of eight days, and as his situation becomes increasingly desperate, Our Man’s resourcefulness is put to the test, until even he begins to despair of being rescued.

All Is Lost - scene

This is an acting tour-de-force by Redford, who shows that despite recent efforts such as The Company You Keep and Lions for Lambs, he is still one of the best actors around, with a screen presence and a command of material that most younger actors can only hope to achieve. Every emotion, every surge of hope and slough of despair is projected perfectly for the audience to bear witness. The character’s pride and resolve is clearly referenced, and the sheer physicality of the character is heightened by his battle with the sea and the elements (it’s worth bearing in mind that Redford is now 77 – this must have been a very demanding shoot for him). With confident, focused direction by Chandor (from his script), All Is Lost holds the attention throughout and makes for riveting viewing. Filmed partly in the same tank at Baja, Mexico that was built for Titanic, All Is Lost is a fantastic piece of filmmaking, beautifully shot, and perfectly edited; there’s not a wasted moment in the whole movie.

Rating: 9/10 – a gripping, enthralling piece of filmmaking that gives Redford his best role in years; an incredible achievement all round.