Movies: All Is Lost
Friday, October 25, 2013
Our Man clearly knows his way around a boat and, as the film opens, is sailing alone in the lightly traveled waters between Madagascar and Sumatra. Although he doesn’t have a name other than “Our Man,” we do know from watching the film that he’s wealthy — nice yacht — and competent and American. His craft is well-appointed with all the comforts and bells and whistles money can buy. But, in this case, money cannot buy safety. His boat is damaged by a huge shipping container and it looks like it will sink. Hence, the title, All Is Lost.
Our Man is Robert Redford and he is is on the screen alone for the entire film, speaking very few words. But, despite that, this is an eloquent action film where, — perhaps because we’ve become conditioned to like and pull for any Redford character and, at 77, he is just amazing here.
His confidence shines through the all the situations confronting him in his ability to deal with each problem as it arises. We also know he’s got people close to him. He wears a wedding ring, albeit on his right hand ring finger. His boat is called the Virginia Jean, presumably after someone of whom he’s fond.
We like Our Man and we want him to survive. We don’t question why he’s alone in the Indian Ocean or how he came to all his knowledge of the sea. We accept without question his myriad abilities and his familiarity with the old sextant on board. We are rooting for Our Man throughout. The performance is so very vivid that we can almost smell the wet wool sweater he is wearing.
That each human can be alone is a point driven starkly home here. What can be more alone than a single person on board a boat adrift in the huge Indian Ocean?
Writer/director J.C. Chandor has carried on in the great tradition of Joseph Conrad and Ernest Hemingway in creating this gripping drama of man and the sea. Cinematographer Frank G. DeMarco and underwater director of photography Peter Zuccherini enable us to feel the film environment.
Don’t be put off by the fact that Redford is that only actor in the film and that he speaks probably less than 300 words. All Is Lost is utterly gripping, fascinating and worthing.