ALL-IS-LOST-POSTERThis is a movie unlike any other in many ways. There is just one actor whose entire dialogue could fit on an index card. We find out nothing about his back-story — not his name, or why he is all alone on a sailboat in the middle of the Indian Ocean, not even a hint of family or friends. He is no one and everyman listed in the credits simply as Our Man. And Our Man is Robert Redford, still more than capable of commanding an audience’s attention despite the loss of his Sundance Kid beauty. All is Lost is the age old story of man-against-nature, and though it may not be for everyone, it is a surprisingly compelling film.

The film opens with a voice-over of Our Man telling the audience that he’s tried, but “all is lost,” and then we flash back 8 days to see how he came to this sad conclusion. We meet the man all alone on his sailboat dealing with one challenge after another that culminates in his being alone on a life raft, adrift and hoping for another human to save him. There are predictable plot points like sharks in the water and near rescues, but the main action of the film is Our Man trying to stay alive and teetering between amazing resilience and exhaustion with his dilemma.

all-is-lost-robert-redfordI did keep thinking of the similarities with Gravity and Life of Pi, though both of them depended heavily on dialogue and CGI. But they were also about the human need to survive despite incredible odds. And just as Sandra Bullock owned Gravity, Robert Redford made this film his. There is hardly a frame without him. You want him to survive, though you know nothing about him. And maybe that is why. He is everyman. He is us alone in the middle of an ocean hoping and praying for someone to come to our rescue. You cannot take your eyes off him lest he disappear into that enormous void. I am not sure Mainstream Chick would appreciate this film, since there are stretches when all Our Man does is eat some canned food and use his sextant to discover where he is, but I was amazed at how transfixed I was. Redford will undoubtedly be nominated his incredibly effective minimalist performance, and the film for a host of technical awards. It is a very experiential movie that should appeal to those not so enamored of the constant barrage of superhero/vampire-zombie/adolescent plot lines and those who appreciate that film is ultimately about storytelling through visuals. Take some Dramamine and see it!

Interested in reading the script? Here it is.

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