Compelling, but often for the wrong reasons. Certain genres are cheats because they steal the inherent suspense and drama of the formula and masquerade it as the product of writing or direction. Of course we want the man to survive, but does that make a film great? "Into the Wild" ventured into a similar solitude and desperation with greater heartbreak and without copping out.
All is Lost is a failed experiment grasping for profundity. I respect what Chandor is attempting, but the accumulative effect is rather boring. If we are supposed to appreciate the film as a character study, I would have been more interested watching a lesser-known actor.
A film almost entirely about a man and his relationship with himself the meditation of preparation and will. Redford's eyes always speak volumes but in this film it was his hands that fill in that void of solitude everything is calm even if your not.
Murphy's law at sea ... I applaud J.C Chandor for this quasi-silent movie which throws you straight into the action. With one lonely sailer as the film's only cast member - probably the shortest end credit ever. Highly recommended!
With Margin Call, he showed us he can make a masterful film with essentially no action, driven entirely by the remarkable dialogue of its large ensemble cast. With All is Lost, he proves that he can make a masterful film with essentially no dialogue, driven entirely by the remarkable actions of its sole character. Going forward the question has to be: just what, if anything, can't J.C. Chandor do?
Having spent half my life on a boat like this one (and sometimes in some pretty hot situations - nothing compared to this though) I can only salute the bravada of making such a film. Everything at sea is difficult to do, from fixing a sail to taking a leak, and the attention to detail in this movie is spot on. It's a brilliantly acted story of survival. All is Lost is to navigation what 127 Hours was to hiking.