All Is Lost

Rated PG-13 100 min. 2013

I have to admit I’m not as wild about J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost as I’m apparently supposed to be. It is exactly what it claims to be — about 100 minutes of Robert Redford as a nameless character (the film bills him as “Our Man”) on a sinking boat or a rubber life raft trying to stay alive on the Indian Ocean. It has no dialogue and very little monologue. There is a voice-over at the beginning of Our Man reading a farewell letter he writes much later in the film, but that’s about it. It feels like a stunt — and that’s because it is a stunt. Seriously, what else do you call a film that asks you to spend its entire running time with one very taciturn character? It is, however, a surprisingly successful stunt. The fact that All Is Lost works at all is largely attributable to the presence of Robert Redford, such a self-contained presence that he can hold the screen without doing very much. He has to come across as so self-sufficient in his own mind that he needs no one, including the audience. That’s both fascinating and a little off-putting. If there’s any real dramatic arc in the film, it’s less whether or not Our Man will survive than whether he’ll accept that his self-assurance — the whole reason he’s out in the middle of the Indian Ocean by himself in the first place — has its limitations.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: J.C. Chandor

Writer: J.C. Chandor

Producer: Neal Dodson, Anna Gerb, Justin Nappi and Teddy Schwarzman

Cast: Robert Redford

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