Featured Post

Letterboxd Reviews

So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Movie Review - All Is Lost

All Is Lost (2013)
Starring Robert Redford
Directed by J.C. Chandor

Even moreso than movies of its ilk like Cast Away and Life of Pi, All Is Lost is a bit more of an experiment in filmmaking.  Whereas the lost and foresaken travelers in those two films had either a beach ball named Wilson or a tiger named Richard Parker with whom to converse, the man in All Is Lost -- and he is just a nameless man played by Robert Redford -- has no one but himself to pass the time.  And he's not fond of talking to himself.  So, what you get is a film that has perhaps one minute of dialog combined across its 105-minute run time.  That's a ballsy move on writer-director J.C. Chandor's part because it forces the visuals to be captivating.  Fortunately they are, but the film itself -- perhaps because of the lack of dialog -- failed to allow me to connect with the main character despite his hard-fought battle against Mother Nature and Mother Earth. 

The film begins with the voiceover of Redford's weathered older sailor reading a letter to his daughter which tells her that he fought hard, but was unable to overcome the perils of the sea despite his best efforts.  We then flashback eight days already knowing that something awful is going to happen.  This foreshadowing certainly provides the movie with some much needed tension and does its job by keeping us on the edge of our seat until the man's inevitable downfall.  As the seventy-something man sails the Southern seas on his lovely boat named the Virginia Jean, he wakes up one morning to his sailboat taking on water thanks to having a run-in with a large crate (the type carried on those giant cargo ships).  While he manages to get his boat detached from the crate, the gaping hole left behind causes some problems...and the impending stormy weather doesn't help things either.

The story in All Is Lost isn't the film's problem.  In fact, the simplicity is actually refreshing and feels incredibly natural.  The issue with the movie is that I didn't really care what happened to Redford's character -- whether he lived or died made no difference to me.  In films like Life of Pi and Cast Away where we've been given glimpses of the main characters' home lives, I had a rooting interest for the shipwrecked folks to get home.  Here, it was really just a struggle of man vs. nature which inherently is intriguing, but didn't allow me to connect with the character the way I desired.  I respect what J.C. Chandor and Robert Redford did here (although Redford's Oscar buzz seems unwarranted in a year that contained so many fantastic leading actor performances) and All Is Lost is still a really solid film, but they didn't create a film that had me hoping for the man's success which inherently seems like a bit of a problem.

The RyMickey Rating:  B

No comments:

Post a Comment