Review: ALL IS LOST (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Review: ALL IS LOST (2013)

Review: ALL IS LOST (2013)
Robert Redford delivers a superb one-man show in this well-crafted, minimalist survival drama.

Movies about "man vs. nature" is nothing new at all. In fact, there were already few great ones out there such as 2000's CAST AWAY, 2010's 127 HOURS and 2012's LIFE OF PI. Added to the list is J.C. Chandor's ALL IS LOST, an impressive survival drama featuring a groundbreaking performance by veteran Robert Redford.

ALL IS LOST begins with an unnamed protagonist (Robert Redford, where his character's name is actually called "Our Man" at the end credit) being jolted awake when his yacht hits a steel crate floating in the middle of the ocean at 1,700 nautical miles from the Sumatra Straits. At the beginning, he manages to fix his punctured yacht with some cloth and lacquer but soon he is forced to face a violent storm in a horrifying life-and-death situation.
For the record, ALL IS LOST is a rare movie where only one actor (Robert Redford) occupied the entire duration. It's certainly not an easy feat but writer-director J.C. Chandor manages to sustain interest throughout 106 minutes with his taut direction about how a person being pushed beyond the limit to battle against the forces of nature. Technical-wise, the special effects (especially the storm sequence) is top notch, while Frank G. DeMarco's cinematography is perfectly claustrophobic. Then there's Peter Zuccarini's amazing underwater camerawork especially in the scene underneath the raft where a school of fish is passing by in the sea, and of course, Pete Beaudreau's airtight editing that keeps the movie on an intense pace.

Speaking of that one actor, Robert Redford is a revelation. He has acted many memorable roles before in the past, just to name a few, The Sundance Kid in 1969's BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and Bob Woodward in 1976's ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN. But for ALL IS LOST, this is no doubt his most challenging role ever tackled in his long acting career. Throughout the movie, he only speaks very little dialogue and spends the rest of the time conveying his varied emotion through his craggy face. His expressive acting performance is simply naturalistic, and yet compelling enough to watch him how he uses every survival skill he can think of to overcome the disaster.
The final poignant scene where the unnamed protagonist almost gives up hope to survive anymore.
I was captivated from the minute one until the closing finale that I couldn't find a flaw in this movie.

ALL IS LOST is a terrific movie worth checking for. I really hope this one gets proper awards recognition (at least a nomination or two) when Oscar season arrives next year.

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