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All is Lost

Posted by admin on November 4, 2013


The smell of salty air and a gust of a sea breeze are the only things that I encounter whenever I go out on the ocean. I have not sailed in a while and it’s been two years since my last cruise. It may not seem like it, but I really enjoy the oceans. Not only do I like the smells, I enjoy the tranquility of unbound miles ahead of me. The ocean is the real frontier of the Earth, containing countless voyages and people that sail and command the vast blue landscape. There is a feeling of meditation when I see the ocean.

But the waters are also unpredictable. My serenity of this planet can also become the strongest of enemies to a lot of other things. When the waves triple in size within the storms, it becomes a force of godlike power as it can sink the largest ships, and even turn against the land to destroy homes and businesses. But when it attack us, who can we blame? It is all just nature and it’s something that we have to learn from. Our strength against an unforgiving sea is revealed in the latest survival story, All is Lost.

It all opens up with a quote with a man making his last words about how he’s sorry he couldn’t try harder and hoped that everyone can understand he fought all the way to live. The movie then turns back the clock by eight days to reveal our unnamed sailor (played by Robert Redford) waking up to see that his schooner has sprung a leak. Just how experienced is this sailor? We are never told, but he seems to do his best as he manages to latch off the storage container he crashed into and even patch up the hole. Boy, does this guy wish that those would be the worst of his problems.

The flooding has damaged all his navigational and radio equipment, rending him invisible to the Navy. He then comes into a storm and tries to stay on coarse. The ocean proves too strong as he falls overboard and the boat capsizes. He decides of abandon ship, bringing whatever food is left and try to chart his voyage, using celestial sailing. The days pass on as his food starts to run out, no drinking water, and his face becoming more sunburned. Our sailor may have finally met his match.

All is Lost is the anti Life of Pi; unlike the story of the tiger that made the ocean seem large in scope, this time, the sailor is shown in a tight and contained vessel. And even when he’s off, the lifeboat only reveals that he’s got a long journey in hopes of being rescued. Also ironic enough is that while Life of Pi has some amazing cinematography and special effects, All is Lost is the more visual film. We’re in the same boat as Redford (no pun intended), we get that same sense of claustrophobia that we may encounter if alone on the seas.

Robert Redford does an amazing job as this lone sailor; and lone is the right word as he’s the only actor in the entire movie. He doesn’t even get in more then five lines of dialogue. Now making our big actor render-less to talk would be something that should have worked against the film, but making the hero silent here seems very fresh and original. What would he be saying if he had a first mate on board, “Find help”? The boat constantly tosses and turns poor Redford, putting him in the ocean as much as possible. I would love to see what went through the making of this film, as this could have not been a fun shoot for Redford. My only problem I had was that the ending felt like a cowardly cop-out.

All is Lost feels like a fable I would tell other sailors. I can’t recall any imagery that I could reflect on. It’s simply the ending life of this one sailor. If your looking for something of a blockbuster-style adventure movie, your not going to like this. It’s very slow paced, trying to give you the same feelings that Redford is going through. Even if the ocean journey is not even pleasant, All is Lost is an acting triumphant for Robert Redford.


I’ll give this four and a half sailing wheels out of five. This is a real one man show that never becomes boring, and shows that Redford still has plenty to offer in the twenty-first century of cinema. 


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