Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Old Man and the Sea

All is Lost (2013) - Chandor
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All is Lost can be summed up in what it is not - it's not a gooey lost at sea Hollywood fantasy Cast Away, nor it is a Gravity style 'experience film', nor it is contemplative meditation of The Old Man and the Sea. The film avoids all that. Robert Redford doesn't hide his pruned face and spotty arms and gives the most matter of fact performance in this dialog-less film. And it's a tour de force. It starts with Redford's brief voice over, apologizing to everyone he knew that all is lost. Then the film follows 8 harrowing days of survival in the Indian Ocean after his sailboat rams into a floating container ship and taking in water.

There are some visceral scenes in the storm as Redford tries to stay afloat, as his boat capsizes time and time again. Chandor doesn't play to the CG inflicted disaster porn wide shot of the tiny boat under the incoming tidal waves. There is a glimpse of the waves rolling this way from the small cabin window but that's about it. He keeps his camera close to Redford most of the time. The music is minimal and it's great to hear frustrated Redford yelling, "FUCK!"

There are a lot of moments of beauty in the film, as thirsty and exhausted Redford welcomes the rain on his face, and some spectacular under water scenes shooting up to his boat and his raft. All is Lost is a remarkable cinematic achievement in this day and age for a fact that it doesn't patronize viewer's intelligence. A real gem.