I love when films take a chance and do something we haven’t seen before. Or at the very least flip an old model in order to try and make something new out of it. While All Is Lost doesn’t completely rewrite the book on “survival” movies, it is certainly a unique entry. We know the most famous one, Cast Away, or certainly the most commercial with Tom Hanks taking the (volley)ball and running with it, as well as using said volleyball as a device that he could talk to. Life Of Pi, a solid film from last year had Pi interacting with different animals and locations on his journey. All Is Lost takes the more realistic and straight-forward path, whether you buy into it or not.
Robert Redford is the only actor you see or hear from in the movie, not really a spoiler nor am I exaggerating it’s just him. Off of this too, he says a couple lines at the beginning, and then maybe two more throughout the film, and that’s it. For the rest of the film we’re just watching Redford survive, create a makeshift shelter on his boat and dingy, battle out storms, and try to find himself rescue.
It’s a lot of the same stuff over and over again, from riding out storms and dealing with the fallout, but it’s consistently engaging due to the fidelity of Redford’s performance. He’s very calm under basically all circumstances, seemingly having a plan for everything after his perceived years of excellence. Maybe, it’s because I love anything “survival,” like the Man Vs. Wild show and others of that realm, but I’m always intrigued and drawn into these stories. Of course, under these films especially the character makes it or breaks it, since we spend all our time with them, and Redford couldn’t have been more better or perfect in the role. He was pretty much born to play some old captain on a boat.