Sunday, October 27, 2013

Old Man and the Sea: All Is Lost

Robert Redford is the right man for the solo role in J. C. Chandor's All Is Lost.

Robert Redford is old. His face is rugged - cragged and weathered. He looks like an elderly sailor seeking solitude and separation from past pain.

He's just right for this essentially silent film about a solitary sailor battling the sea. Other than a brief voiceover, Redford only utters one word throughout the entire story, but he doesn't have to speak to move the story along. You know his mind is always calculating patiently, considering the next task he must perform in order to survive. As in films like The Naked Prey and Castaway, we are attentive to the things that he does in order to survive.

Meanwhile, Redford establishes tension and focus throughout, supported by thrilling action during a storm and beautiful cinematography of the sea. Underwater shots of creatures going about their business oblivious to the man's predicament might remind the viewer of Terrence Malick.

If Redford wins an end-of-career Oscar for this film, it won't just be a parting gift. It will be a well-deserved reward for a memorable performance in an exquisite film.


Steve's Blog said...

This is indeed an "exquisite film," and I am happy I decided to take it in this morning. Everything you say about Redford's command of the film, the boat, the setting is right on. I found this movie as much about one man's death as I found Gravity to be about one woman's birth.

All Is Lost for me is meditative, poetic, absorbing, exciting, moving, and moderately profound. The imagery of the fish as much as the close ups serve this tale well and the hand of (fill in the blank) reaching out for him is one of the more satisfying climaxes I have seen in a while.

Hokahey said...

Steve, thanks for adding to my brief post on this great movie. It is certainly "meditative, poetic." I need to see this again.

Hokahey said...

Meant to add that I loved the commentary about how the modern age of massive consumerism is responsible for wrecking his boat - while he is out wandering by means of one of the purest, non-polluting forms of transportation. Then the huge auto-piloted container ships are to big to be able to spot him. It takes a small craft - I presume it's a local fishing boat - to save him.

John Hitchcock said...

I've heard this is supposed to be really good. One of these days I should see it if I could just find a copy for a decent price.

Hokahey said...

Thanks, John. It's worth buying, I think. One of the very best movies of last year.