All Is Lost

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Viewers of a certain age may remember Robert Redford as one of the great handsome men of cinema. The sun-kissed skin, the wind-tousled hair, the little-boy smile that let you know he couldn’t lose. Like the title says, all is lost. Disaster rouses an solo yachtsman from comfortable sleep: a drifting shipping container has punched a hole in his boat. Skillful efforts at repair and recovery eventually give way to a grueling struggle to simply survive. The sun blisters, the wind ravages, the face twists and sags. The metaphor — we’re all on a journey, people — is kept mostly in the background, but the lack of dialogue and singular focus make it impossible to miss. (Just about the only time writer-director J.C. Chandor takes the camera off Redford is to give us gradually deepening shots from below the life raft: first minnows, then a school of fish, then predators, and finally, sharks.) (2013) — Matthew Lickona

Rated PG-13 | 1 hour, 40 minutes
View Trailer "Opening Shot: All Is Lost" Official Website


This movie is not currently in theaters.


If you enjoy cinema for metaphor or for furrowed brows, then see All Is Lost. If you go for dialogue or humor or a whopping good story, then sit this one out. Alert viewers will find themselves adrift in a sea of unanswered questions: Who is our protagonist, and why is he on this dangerous journey? Who is he scribbling to? Is it simply too uncinematic for him to wear a hat every time he's out in the sun, or for him to recycle his urine? Instead of a sextant, shouldn't a sailor in his mid-70s traveling solo own a waterproof rescue beacon? The absence of backstory means that our attention is on the here and now, but this one-dimensionality keeps the script from achieving much depth. Obscure spoiler alert: fans of the original Star Trek series might find similarity between the ending of this film and the ending of The Galileo Seven.

Nov. 12, 2013

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