Monday, March 10, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—All Is Lost (2013) ***½

PG-13, 106 min.
Director/Writer: J.C. Chandor
Starring: Robert Redford

Last fall, while Sandra Bullock was lost in space, Robert Redford was lost at sea. Another bold single person survival tale, “All Is Lost” challenges its audience along with its main character by providing only a smidgeon of dialogue to go along with its relentless tale. “Dialogue” may not be the right word since there is only one person in the entire film and he never talks to anyone, even on the radio. He doesn’t even really talk to himself. He just does everything he to can to survive when his sailboat suffers a hull breach after it runs into a storage box that has fallen off a freighter.

This is one of those stories where everything that can go wrong does. Redford’s character diligently and knowledgably works to fix all of his problems until they grow beyond what he can control. Despite all his efforts to help himself, he must eventually give himself up to fate. Perhaps that’s is what the film is ultimately exploring. Does anything we do really propel us or is it all random happenings out of our control, or some sort of fate that is also out of our control?

J.C. Chandor does a great job keeping the audience invested in his character’s fate. It’s just him and us, so we can’t help but root for him. He keeps all of the man’s actions about the task of survival from the opening moments of his story. There are no digressions from that task. This makes every failure that much more heartbreaking. 

The one question I really come out of this movie asking, however, is, why would anyone want to sail the oceans? I’m not afraid of the water or anything, but I have no desire to take that risk. I’ll keep my legs on dry land, thank you.

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