A sailor (Robert Redford) alone on a boat wakes to find his boat impaled on a container that apparently fell from a ship. His modes of communication are destroyed and there is a hole in the boat. Yet he tries to salvage the boat and the situation but when a storm approaches, things quickly go from bad to worse.
All Is Lost uses the limitations it imposes on itself very much to its advantage and created an engaging, if slightly too long movie.
There are hardly any spoken words in the film. There is some cursing (which is very appropriate) and one rather sappy bit of monologue I could have done without, too. But the rest of the time it’s Robert Redford and Robert Redford’s face and he gives that performance his all – which works very nicely. I was with him every step of the way.
J.C. Chandor developed the plot beautifully – both in writing and in action. Even though the situation continuously gets worse, it’s never too overblown so that you don’t believe it anymore. Only the ending [SPOILER] when the life raft was burning and the sailor let himself almost drown [/SPOILERS] was a bit too much. Less would have been more here.
There was one scene though that stood out among the rest: [SPOILER] when it is clear that the boat is going to sink and the sailor tries to get everything he might need into the life raft and the boat is creaking ominously around him and you know that it can finally sink any moment… [/SPOILER] That was a scene right out of a horror movie, tensionwise, and had me gripping my seat.
Generally it is fascinating how much you can do with a one man, a boat and the sea. Even if the film could have been a little shorter and the ending was a bit much, it was pretty great to watch.
Summarizing: Engaging and tense.