All Is Lost – Review
There are two quotes I like about nature and intelligence. One is from H.G Wells who once said, “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative” and the other is from Physicist Stephen Hawkings who simply states, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”.
Both quotes could be either the preamble or foreword to Robert Redford’s triumphant performance in the film “All Is Lost”. A fascinating, gripping and absolutely tension filled voyage of a solitary man’s ordeal to simply survive alone at sea.
From the onset, we are immediately enveloped and drawn into this nameless character appearance on the screen. And it is from those first few minutes we also realize that there is no premise forthcoming to provide clues as to who he is. No back story to define what expertise he may have to be at sea. No sentimental subplot of family members waiting back home, living in desperate despair longing for any news about their loves one’s well being. No information as to why he is selling alone so far away from home. No manipulative suggestion of a potential subplot where high tech capabilities will come into play to facilitate a tidy
Hollywood style rescue. No this is a bare bones simple story about one man, one boat, one ocean and one voice.
For the most part the film is 90% without any dialogue, but it still overflows with
Redford’s canny ability to project his thoughts through his movements, his expressions and his execution of wits and intelligence to remain composed as he finds practical and understandable ways of making lemonade out of lemons to avoid catastrophe at sea.
This films execution is flawlessly economic and yet emotionally and viscerally elegant to look at and feel. The camera, and rightly so, never leaves Redford’s face as he manages to remain focused on how to navigate around a multitude of perilous circumstances that seem to this layman's point of view unrelentingly real.
This is one of the best films this year.