Wednesday 10 July 2024

Movie Review: All Is Lost (2013)

Genre: Survival Drama  
Director: J.C. Chandor  
Starring: Robert Redford  
Running Time: 105 minutes  

Synopsis: In the Indian Ocean, a solo sailor (Robert Redford) faces an immediate crisis when a stray container smashes into his yacht, puncturing the hull and damaging all his control and communication equipment. To have any chance of staying alive, he has to complete makeshift repairs, survive ocean storms, ration his provisions, learn celestial navigation, and hope to catch the attention of a passing vessel.

What Works Well: The one-man battle against ocean hazards is a heroic representation of the human survival instinct, and Robert Redford carries the acting and physical load with grizzled determination. The storm scenes are satisfyingly exhausting, while in the quieter moments between howling gales and dwindling options, director J.C. Chandor finds beauty in the vastness of solitude.

What Does Not Work As Well: Nothing is revealed about the sailor's life, lessening the impact of his ordeal. For non-boaters, and in the absence of narration, much of the survival exertions are just so much toil, from this side of the boat to that, and from down to up and back again. The running time becomes a grueling exercise in maintaining concentration, and a good 15 minutes could have been deleted with no loss of impact.

Conclusion: Navigates both flotsam and jetsam.

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