Monday, January 6, 2014

All Is Lost (J. C. Chandor, 2013) Review

Have you ever wanted to see what would happen if you took Gravity and spliced it with Life of Pi...without the tiger? I have a feeling it would be something like this. While Gravity seemed to boast about its very small cast (about 3, I think), clearly J. C. Chandor wanted to beat that by having only one actor. All Is Lost definitely has the smallest cast this year but does the simplicity mean that it's a stronger film as a result? Let's find out.

1700 miles off shore is a man (Robert Redford) on his yacht in the middle of a solo voyage. No one else in sight and all alone, he finds trouble brewing when his boat is struck by a container seemingly out of nowhere. He puts his survival skills to the test by gathering supplies from his sinking vessel and taking the life raft out into the unknown in hope of safety.

I think it's safe to assume that Robert Redford is on his way to an Oscar. A good performance is a good performance but having convey the entire film with little to no dialogue (the script is only 32 pages long). Despite having no name given, you do get enthralled in his ordeal and you do want to see him survive and get to safety. The film does work very well without dialogue and offers a stronger experience...actually, yeah, it is more of an experience than a film. You wouldn't dig this out at a party to watch but then again, that's just the way films are made now (Oscar much Oscar bait).

I will warn you that some people may find this to be very boring. I didn't but I'm quite tolerant of slow films. If you enjoyed Life of Pi and can imagine it without the tiger and the whimsy then that's what you're going to get. Gravity on the sea, if you will. It takes its time with progression of the narrative but whether or not it will keep your attention is more based on what kind of films you're into. It's not a film that was made to be enjoyed, kind of like Breaking Bad, you just have to experience it.

All Is Lost is a very simple film that doesn't waste time with symbolism or messages, it's just a story that unfolds in front of you. Robert Redford does an excellent job of carrying the film, especially without the use of words. I recommend it to people that enjoyed Gravity should check it out to get a similar concept interpenetrated differently. For my next review, you guessed it, another 2013 film..I'M CATCHING UP, ALRIGHT?!

Robert Redford carries the movie that offers a strong experience.

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