Directed by J.C. Chandor. 106 mins.
Worth my time? Yes. (Watched on Blu-ray)
I never would have dreamed that Chandor’s follow-up to Margin Call, his entertaining (if unadventurous) Great Recession drama, would be anything like All Is Lost. While Margin didn’t rock the boat, this Robert Redford vehicle should make waves for its writer/director even though it sank at the box office.
Yes, I just fucking wrote that shitty, Shalitty sentence.
All Is Lost feels like something a studio would have made a generation, maybe even two generations ago. I had no problem replacing Redford with Henry Fonda or Gregory Peck in my mind’s eye. The one and only member of the cast does a bang-up job of channeling the timeless “man versus nature” plot. Man certainly has a losing streak when facing off against nature, and the film’s title is pretty damn accurate. Still, I rooted for Redford’s futile attempts at survival the whole way through.
Aside from Red’s performance, the film is well-executed exercise of trimming fat from a film. We know nothing about the main character apart from the name of his boat. His name is never uttered (almost nothing is uttered, actually), and the film never tells the viewer what he’s doing at sea to begin with. Chandor wisely understands that if the conflict deeply resonates with an audience, you don’t require much else. Aristotle would be proud.
(Seen and written on 2014-03-04)