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“All Is Lost” – Review (POSITIVE)

November 15, 2013

Screen shot 2013-11-15 at 2.00.12 PMIt can be difficult for an actor to carry a movie on his own. There are times when an actor needs to carry the movie with a minimalistic cast, or sometimes, a large portion of the time it’s just them by themselves, until they return to reality. And then a movie like “All is Lost” comes around where ONE ACTOR holds the movie for the entire 90 minute runtime. Solo pictures, in general, are hard to crack, but it’s only recently that more have come into light that seem to find it’s niche; whether it’s “Gravity”“Life of Pi”, “Buried”, or “Locke”, the challenge is keeping your audience engaged for the whole runtime.

In this survival tale, Robert Redford plays a man (with no name), journeying out in the vast Indian Ocean, why he’s out there, is really something only the character knows. Do we need to know? Is it relevant? I’d like to think no, because it adds a more cathartic level of interest in this persons voyage. One day, the man wakes to find his sale boat crashed into a freighter (filled with shoes), creating a whole mess of problems. The boat is leaking water, a storm is on the horizon, and all this man has is the equipment in front of him, his tools necessary to keep him going, and a life raft. The man drifts in the middle of the ocean, hoping that he’ll make it to land or at the least find a ship passing by to save him, but as time depletes away, the harsh sun burns, and little food/water, there’s only so much strength our leading man has left before all hope is lost.

The movie opens with a small narrative monologue by the man, apologizing for his mistakes, perhaps to his loved ones, or I’d like to think it was addressed directly to the audience. After that, no major line of dialogue is said throughout the film, with the exception of a angry bellow of the f-word, which is quite possibly the most powerful moment in the movie. But the question remains, does Robert Redford, an actor with an incredibly vast career as well respected actor/filmmaker, hold this movie together by himself?

There is a special kind of pathos going on in this performance, it’s unlike anything you’ve really seen before. One may argue that we have seen this kind of performance in a movie before, like “Cast Away”, and to some extent you may be onto something, but the elements in this story are far worse than what “Cast Away” conveyed. You are trapped literal in the middle of nowhere, water everywhere you turn, water that you cannot even drink. This is probably the scariest nightmare a person could ever experience, any regular person who doesn’t have the proper training that the ‘man’ appeared to have, would give up in an instant. But the fact that this guy, continues to problem solve, just by how he scouts the boat, how he uses his tools when he’s in the raft, you really believe your watching someone fighting for their life.

I think the only major concern the movie has, and mass audiences will have a difficult time with is the fact that movie is about one single person, with little to no dialogue backing him up. For some they may find it to be boring, and I can empathize, it’s a bit of challenge to get through such silence during long periods of time. I myself felt a tad bit heavy on the eyes, but as soon as the storm hits, you’re on the edge of your seat till the credits roll. Take that for what it’s worth.

GRADE: A-

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