All is Lost

Robert Redford’s Tour de Force

Jan. 25, 2014
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All is Lost is virtually wordless, aside from a forlorn introductory monologue and an anguished “Fuck!” Robert Redford plays a man alone on the Indian Ocean, his sailboat gradually sinking after colliding with a floating metal container full of cheap Chinese shoes—hence no dialogue. All is Lost is not a silent movie by any means; music provides a subtle accent, and there is the unceasing sound of the sea, the heaving water extending as far as the eye (and ear) can travel.

For Redford, the lone actor in All is Lost, the role is a tour de force of body language and facial expression. Determination sometimes sinks into disorientation as this strong, resourceful man struggles to stay afloat and alive. Writer-director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) maintains just the right tone in this solitary, lonesome odyssey. In the most heartbreaking moments, huge container ships pass by Redford’s life raft, unseeing or unresponding to his flares and cries for help. The ancient law of the sea has apparently been repealed in favor of uninterrupted commerce at all costs.

All is Lost will be out next month on Blu-ray and DVD.

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