Movie Review: All is Lost (2013)

Starring: Robert Redford

Directed by: J.C. Chandor

A man who is sailing alone on his sailboat gets into a world of trouble when he wakes up to find his boat has crashed into a shipping container. Trying to repair the damage while battling through a storm he ends up in an extraordinary battle for survival in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

All is Lost is a one man movie in which the movie’s overall quality rests heavily upon Robert Redford’s shoulders. An experienced actor such as Redford should have the wherewithal to pull something like this off providing he’s been given half decent direction. It’s really hard otherwise to pull off a movie like this with little to no dialogue and only one character if the direction is wrong. Buried and The Shallows are movies similar to All is Lost where the movie focuses on one characters struggles against a mighty foe. Both of the previously mentioned movies were pretty decent, nothing to really get excited about but not a complete waste of time either, there’s only so much to enjoy about Ryan Reynolds in a box or Blake Lively on a rock.

However, All is Lost doesn’t quite do as good a job as Buried or The Shallows. I think that most of the blame can be directed towards Robert Redford’s character for the failure of this movie. While Redford did a pretty decent job with his performance I just think the character he plays doesn’t make any kind of connection with the audience. We aren’t privy to any information about him such as family, career, why he’s sailing, where he’s going and why he’s alone. This made it hard to make any kind of emotional connection to the character and also made it hard for me to care whether he lives or dies by the end. Also, I don’t know anything about sailing so I’m not going to pretend to be an expert but I feel like his character made a lot of fundamental errors when it came to preparing his emergency lifeboat. While you never expect to have to abandon ship, you should at least be fully prepared should the situation ever arise and I felt that this guy wasn’t and was caught a little off guard, which I have no sympathy for.

One of the great features of the movie was the music used throughout. As there were only a handful of lines spoken throughout the use of music was going to be heavily relied upon in order to set the tone and to create the atmosphere to draw the audience in. I felt the music was expertly used and it’s not a surprise that All is Lost managed to land itself an Oscar nomination for sound editing. One great scene that I felt was really effective was when Robert Redford was trying to catch a fish with his make shift fishing like and a shark came and stole it before he could reel it all the way in, after that the camera went beneath the boat to show more and more sharks swimming around the boat, waiting to pounce. It was a really good scene which portrayed the true extent of the danger that this man was in and if he made one more wrong move then he was going to end up as shark food.

Overall, All is Lost was quite disappointing. I had read quite a few glowing reviews in the past which heaped a ton of praise on the movie but I found it to be rather dull at times and a movie that failed to make me care about the characters well-being. Redford did preform as well as he could be expected to but the material he was given to work with wasn’t the best.


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