Friday, 21 February 2014

Film review: ALL IS LOST

Directed by J. C. Chandor


All Is Lost is a sort of lo-fi disaster film. It has great quality, it’s made with style, and Robert Redford holds the screen with masterful ease, but you have to wonder if that screen could hold mainstream audience looking for thrills. This is very basic and very unadorned for a disaster film. I can very much imagine an obscure cinema on the outskirts of a small town playing it at uncomfortable hours.

It’s quite astonishing that J. C. Chandor had his debut in 2011 with a film that couldn’t be any more different. Margin Call was a slick, smart, quick-paced financial drama; All Is Lost is a low-budget survival story about a man lost at sea. The film is slow, but if you get into its mood – you will find this quite engaging.

Robert Redford (who is the only person you will see in the film) is 86 years old, but my God is he giving a robust performance. It’s not in any way imposing or particularly conspicuous (even considering that he is always on screen), but there is great understated power in his every movement. And by far my favourite part about All Is Lost is that we are never told why this man is at sea in the first place. Where is he going? What’s his story? All we see is one man trying to hold on to life. And for once – this seems enough. 

There are no visual effects and the plot twists are all within the powers of your imagination, which makes All Is Lost so electrifyingly realistic. But Christ – that script must have been ludicrously short.

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