allislostGravity At Sea
All Is Lost
Stars: Robert Redford
Director/Scriptwriter: J. C. Chandor
Cinematographers: Frank DeMarco and Peter Zuccarini
Composers: Edward Sharpe and Alex Ebert
Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate
Rating: R
Running Length: 100 minutes
Robert Redford can do just about anything when it comes to the silver screen. He is an actor, writer, producer, director and aging gracefully. In “All Is Lost,” Redford plays a man adrift on the ocean using his wits to survive. The sky is beautiful, sea with graceful swells, the wind comes when you want it to, and you have plenty of food aboard. What more could a man want for relaxation. Nothing, because just around the corner lies trouble with a capital “T” and it begins with an ominous sound. There is barely a word spoken in the movie, after all, who is listening? Redford’s character doesn't have a name, so I will write using the actor’s name.  Someone should make a documentary on the cinematographer who photographed this film. Stellar work. Oscar will be calling.
We begin with Redford relaxing on his sailboat, an older model, but still comfortable. He appears to be a man friendly with the sea, knowledgeable and used to  being alone. We don't know why he is there. Vacation? Retirement? No mention of family or friends, just Redford and his boat. One day, there is a scraping sound along the side of the boat, checking this out, Redford discovers a shipping crate afloat on the sea and filled with tennis shoes. Must have dropped from a freighter. The large crate has torn a hole in the side of his boat and with skill, Redford manages to free the boat from this mess and drift away. He patches the hole, just above the water line, as best he can and you begin to wonder if this is all that will happen, or the beginning of many nuisances that pile up into disaster.
Well, life doesn't run smoothly and soon, there are storms, sharks, fires, floods, rations destroyed, radio and sail failure and each one takes the audience down the path with Redford, as he still has hope. He found a sexton someone gave him before the trip. With this, he is able to find his position. Lo and behold, he is drifting toward a main shipping lane. Eventually, he sees freighters at a distance and yes, they do have large shipping compartments piled on them, perhaps hundreds. Surely, some should notice him. Just as Sandra Bullock’s dilemma in “Gravity,” who can see you?  She is lost in space, a speck in the universe, and Redford is lost at sea, a speck on the water. Wouldn't that be something if Oscar came calling for both of them for similar roles? Stranger things have happened.
Photography for this film is stunning. The audience feels sun baked after watching it. You are there on the boat, in and out of water, riding the storm swells and with no one to speak to. Talk about feeling insignificant when you see those storms clouds and lightning rolling in. Like being alone on the Kansas or Nebraska prairie. Music comes and goes and is appropriate for the scenes. It’s like clouds. They are there but you don't always notice them.
Faith is something you have in your boat or instruments or yourself to think out of a situation. It is when you are at the end of your strength and there is nothing else you can think of that something or someone other than yourself creeps into your mind. In “Gravity,” Bullock’s character says she doesn't know how to pray as no one taught her. In “Lost At Sea,” Redford grimaces and admits he needs help. The speck on the ocean is in need of assistance, but is anyone listening?
Copyright 2013 Marie Asner
For other films of a man or woman against the elements see the following film reviews:
127 Hours