There have been very few films released in the last year that are as brave as All is Lost. Which could easily have been called Robert Redford On A Boat. If there are fifty words said in this film I would be surprised and apparently the script was only 32 pages long. There is also only one actor in the entire film, the aforementioned Robert Redford. If you can find me another film like that then it will be a rare one.
The story is as simple as you can get. Robert Redford’s character, credited as Our Man as we never actually find out his name, is sailing solo for reasons we don’t ever discover. This begins to go wrong when his boat crashes into a shipping container in the middle of the ocean and starts to take on water. From then on in Our Man is trapped in an epic battle with the ocean as he attempts to survive after all his electrical equipment is destroyed.
With the lack of dialogue this is a rare breed of film in the 21st century. You couldn’t sit in front of the TV with this on the background while simultaneously checking your phone, tablet etc. This is a movie you need to actually watch. You need to witness everything from Redford’s facial expressions to his exasperated sighs. While many may baulk at this it is made easy by a truly incredible performance from Redford. While films like this tend to focus on the inexperienced, hapless sailor Redford comes across as anything but. Every move he makes is done confidently and quickly, and while I’m not a sailor so can’t say for sure he makes the rights one, you always get the impression that he is. That he knows exactly what he’s doing and that makes the fact that things go so horribly wrong even more terrifying, as even this cool collected individual doesn’t have the skill set to escape them. What’s even more incredible is that you get all of this from just his body language.
All is Lost is one of those films that really needs to be seen to understand. It’s a harrowing, emotional and tough watch but when you come out of you can’t help but feel you’ve achieved something. Like you’ve made it through this journey with Our Man. Saying that there are going to be people that will go in and see this and just miss the point. They’ll be sitting looking at their phone tweeting about how no one is saying anything and in doing so will completely miss the point, and that’s a damn shame.