Feature

All Is Lost

A sailor struggles to survive on the high seas.

Directed by J.C. Chandor
(PG-13)

****

All Is Lost represents “a thrilling demonstration of the ancient maxim that action is character,” said Mary Corliss in Time. The story of an imperiled sailor alone at sea, it features only one actor and contains almost no dialogue, but it works because its star, Robert Redford, “brings to the job all the vigor of his 77 years, and all the acting wisdom of a half-century in films.” We never learn much about the character’s past, said David Thomson in The New Republic. He’s merely a man sailing alone in the Indian Ocean when a stray shipping container crashes into his yacht, ripping a hole in the side and setting the clock ticking toward his likely demise. As that clock ticks, Redford goes quietly to work at surviving while we watch and listen, and director J.C. Chandor “revels in the lapping of water,” the creak of the wounded boat, and the bluster of a gathering storm. As All Is Lost sails toward its “engrossing, high-stakes” climax, said Justin Chang in Variety, it becomes “that mainstream-movie rarity: a virtually wordless film that speaks with grave eloquence and simplicity about the human condition.”

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