All Is Lost Screen 18 articles

All Is Lost


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  • In this lo-fi waterworld, all instruments needed to have been tuned and Redford is a bum note. Great moments exist, like when Our Man gets to deliver one perfect word while an ambiguous ending throws everything into interesting relief. It would be unfair to say all is lost in these parts but the motor gives before the 105 minutes have dripped past.

  • Redford’s air of self-possession and weathered mien do seem peculiarly suited to the elemental, go-it-alone story (talk about independent film!), though he is at times restrained to a fault. Chandor’s control (except for some overbearing music) and the film’s near-absence of dialogue successfully induce a sense of contemplation about what a life well-lived might mean, even if none of that matters in the final countdown.

  • [...All is Lost] has been criticized by some for its extreme minimalism. But with practically zero words spoken during the nearly two-hour struggle to keep his punctured sailboat afloat, Redford manages to convey much more in silence than Gravity does in all of its contrived monologues put together.

  • When it removes itself from his side, as with some unnecessary underwater shots of roaming fish intended to portend looming danger, the film temporarily loses its bearings. But in its leading man's lined, determined visage, All Is Lost locates not only its suspense, but also its strength.

  • What separates All is Lost within this crowded subgenre [people stuck in perilous situations] is... every crag and line in Robert Redford's face as he grimaces at his bad fortune, his long-gestating gutteral "Fuuuuuuuuuuucckk" when things go further south, his methodical movements aboard his doomed boat, signifying, perhaps, his stubborn will to survive against the odds yet never eclipsing, via heavy-handed semiotics, the specificity and instantaneity of a given moment's particular task.

  • [...The] hero is capable to the point where I had trouble identifying (I'd have been dead on Day 1, basically), but the rising tension is expertly marshalled and there's gratifying little bits of psychology, e.g. having a shave (as if needing to look his best) before facing down the storm.

  • At 77, Redford isn’t exactly a typical senior citizen, and Chandor doesn’t seem to have cast him in order to fashion some allegory about mortality. It’s the actor’s longstanding remoteness and self-effacement that Chandor taps into here, to superb effect. Arguably, the performance is too single-minded to achieve real greatness, but its utter lack of showmanship is precisely what the movie requires...

  • Like his equally overrated, TV-style Wall Street drama “Margin Call,” Chandor’s “All is Lost” examines how wealthy white American men survive the worst. Whether or not concern for the (self-inflicted) woes of the one percent should be a priority for American filmmakers, at least Chandor makes cinema this time, using an iconic movie star as the vehicle for something close to a silent movie. He allows Redford to channel a primal side last seen in “Jeremiah Johnson.”

  • In a season of stirring survival movies (Gravity, Captain Phillips),All is Lost realizes the genre in its purest form. There's an epic grandeur to its widescreen depiction of loneliness. Dialogue is moot, with the dramatic impact falling entirely on Redford's facial expressions and body movements. It's hard to imagine a more method performance, and this actor's withered face holds all the pain of a man coming to terms with his own potential demise.

  • The unsentimental tone is refreshing after the mawkishness of Ang Lee's Life of Pi, yet something is missing—a sense of Redford's social position, maybe, or other details that might better individualize him. This is gripping as an adventure story even if doesn't achieve the profundity to which it aspires.

  • [It's] the rare effects extravaganza that doubles an intimate drama... In some ways, "All Is Lost" plays like a mass-audience counterpart to Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel's great fishing-trawler doc "Leviathan" (shown at last year's festivals and opening soon). Both films look to the ocean to expand conventional notions of what cinema can do.

  • All Is Lost is an unexpected and fairly riveting entry in the small but proud collection of Robinson Crusoe–based cinematic fictions, from Roy Ward Baker’s Inferno to Buñuel’s adaptation of Defoe’s novel to Ichikawa’s Alone Across the Pacific to My Side of the Mountain.

  • Dedicated to authentically depicting nautical know-how (and nearly dialogueless), the director’s follow-up to Margin Call presents one of the most stunning man-versus-nature battles in recent memory—aided by Redford, who gives a career-best performance while barely saying a word.

  • For keen viewers, the smallest gesture adds immeasurably to the abstract mystery of this loner: Redford, already a giant, has never been more suggestive. His character’s misadventure—expertly streamlined by Margin Call’s J.C. Chandor, clearly nurturing an inner minimalist—might be a kind of cosmic penance. It’s the salvation of the moviegoing year.

  • "All is Lost" is a reaffirmation that Robert Redford is one of cinema's greatest actors, and an affirmation that Chandor is one of its most promising talents. And it left this reviewer, whose animus towards "Margin Call" had inspired him to label Chandor as a flash-in-the-pan, utterly humbled.

  • This is an uncommonly absorbing movie... Like Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity and Paul Greengrass's Captain Phillips, there's a kind of movie magic in play here. Chandor works with equal parts manual rigor, existential wonder, and circumstantial dread (the score by Alex Ebert gently sounds notes of all three).

  • Of all the recent extreme-survival narratives in American cinema... All Is Lost has the most powerful sense of inexorability. It also happens to be the most accomplished piece of filmmaking on that list by a nautical mile... Offering up the grim spectacle of an icon being broken down piece by piece, All Is Lost collapses the gulf between audience and movie star more effectively and affectingly than any film I can remember.

  • All Is Lost is as rigorously sustained and bountifully cinematic as any recent American movie... Considering Margin Call, one might be tempted to assign a self-lacerating liberal message to All Is Lost, as our man in the east is conspicuously Caucasian, and clearly completely out of his element. Yet for all its gestures towards the political, the film functions best as a pummelling adventure; it’s even less mythic than practical, moreDaniel Defoe than Ernest Hemingway.

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