Bottom Line: Lacking the visual must-see-it-in-theaters prowess of GRAVITY and the essential this-volleyball-is-my-new-best-friend goofiness of CAST AWAY, ALL IS LOST is a minimalist tale of survival at sea: a man, his boat, an ocean and essentially no dialogue (save for a seconds-long voiceover to open the film). A little soul searching silence to bait that Oscar hook, if you will. And it will bait said hook, especially Redford’s charismatic performance built on resourcefulness, isolation, hope and tinge (perhaps more) of doubt – he’s the one true lock for a nomination (as well as, perhaps, Best Picture). Admittedly immersive in its ambitious design, I found myself getting the message well before they were done driving it in to our heads and hearts: fix a hole in the boat, try and communicate with the outside world, the seas can be brutal, find a way to make drinkable water, stay alive, etc. – wasn’t some of this covered in Kevin Costner’s WATER WORLD?! (I kid – kind of). There’s a natural poignancy, power and beauty that exists here - it’s a decent movie, but not the pumped-with-manufactured-depth masterpiece that many critics are claiming. Powerfully acted, ambitiously crafted and numbingly sparse - ALL IS LOST may be mired in a slew of critic-heavy praise but it never fully floated my boat. Sail right past today’s high ticket prices and wait for this one at a matinee or on dvd/bluray.
Starring: Robert Redford
Directed by: J.C. Chandor (MARGIN CALL)
Running time: 106 minutes
Story: A tense adventure/drama about a man who must fight for survival after being lost at sea.