Sunday, January 8, 2017

All is Lost

All is Lost; adventure drama, USA / Canada, 2013; D: J. C. Chandor, S: Robert Redford

A man is sleeping in his boat somewhere in the Indian Ocean. He is awakened when a floating container hits his boat and makes a hole in it. He manages to drift away from the container and patch up the hole as best as he can. However, this damage is exacerbated when a storm appears and further damages the boat. He escapes from the boat before sinking and floats in the ocean on a life boat. His food is running out, but he approaches the area used as a route for transport ships. Two ships pass him by. At night, he spots a boat and puts his life boat on fire to attract attention. He sinks, but the man in the boat saves him.

"All is Lost" is a minimalist survival drama, filmmed almost without any dialogues, with only one actor — Robert Redford, who still proves he can carry a film after all these years, even in a very physically demanding role — but it is just enough to conjure up a moderately suspenseful story about a man trying to survive on a sinking boat in the middle of the ocean. This film is a purely visual experience, and some of its best moments arrive in the form of small, quiet details, such as the underwater shot of a small fish under the hero's life boat or his idea to create fresh water from the sea by using a water container and a plastic wrap. Naturally, as with most of these kind of films, the forces of nature have him cornered, and it is gripping seeing how his chances for survival are getting more and more narrow with each day. It is a proportionally well done, yet in the end somewhat monotone 'one-note' story that lacks more ingenuity to offer a broader spectrum of a viewing experience, not just the obvious 'survival' lore at face value, since the viewer's concentration starts to deplete already 30 minutes into the film. More color, more director's intervention and more character development would have helped the viewers to invest themselves more in the character who is left without a context.


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