Robert Redford. Action/drama. Written and directed by J.C. Chandor.
FILM SYNOPSIS: After a collision with a shipping container at sea, a resourceful sailor finds himself staring his mortality in the face. A story of survival, plain and simple.
PREVIEW REVIEW: Itís the actorís dream Ė a movie starring only himself! In All Is Lost (gee, doesnít that title make you want to run right out to the nearest theater?), Robert Redford doesnít even have to share screen time with a Man Friday or a volleyball named Wilson. Therefore, your appreciation of Mr. Redfordís gift as a thespian is a necessity for the complete enjoyment of this man-adrift-at-sea tale.
For myself, I buy Redford as a seafarer. Heís an outdoors kind of guy (the leathery state of his skin attests to that), so if he wanted to be a sailor, I suspect heíd be like this nameless movie character, knowing every detail of yachtsmanship. And certainly the actor is fit (not just for a 70-something, but for a guy of any age). The actorís athleticism and intelligence helped me get caught up in the documentary-styled presentation of a man tenaciously clinging to life. There is a vapor of a back story (heís estranged from family), but itís not a movie about self-discovery. Itís simply a guy trying to stay alive in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
That may be the filmís significance. A tale of survival always points to the sanctity of life.
As in the film Gravity, this film suggests a pro-life message, perhaps despite the filmmakerís intent. For Iím not sure the very Left-leaning Robert Redford would attempt such a statement. After all, such a stand would signal alarm in the motion picture industry, where theyíre still trying to manufacture a good movie about abortion.
When you view a character who fights to stay alive until he simply can fight no more, one must argue for the preciousness of life. Even we Christians, who believe in Heaven, where we will live with God and be reunited with loved ones, even we do whatever is possible to cling to this vale of tears. Thereís an importance to life on Earth we donít totally comprehend. It isnít just a fear of the grave that causes us to hold on. Thereís a subconscious pull toward this present life. Itís a built-in factor. When we hear of an unjust death of someone we donít even know, or contemplate the demise of the unborn, we canít help but feel sorrow. This would suggest that indeed there is a sacredness to life.*
I only have one fault with the film. At no point does the protagonist call out to God. Even if youíre not a religious person, if the end seems at hand, donít you, out of desperation, cry out to a Higher Power? Wouldnít Robert Redford, I mean, if a movie crew wasnít a few feet away? Yet, neither God nor his place in the afterlife are ever considered by the filmís hero.
In fairness to the filmmakerís seeming lack of spiritual awareness, the filmís last shot is certainly a symbolic one that could possibly be taken as a spiritual metaphor.
Despite the one use of an f-bomb, there is no objectionable language. Come to think of it, thereís almost no language, period. Writer/director J.C. Chandor should be congratulated for keeping us involved simply through his knowledge of cinema technique and a respect for the sea.
*Too often we defenders of the unborn come across as unfeeling or unthinking in regard to those who have committed abortion. It should be stated that if indeed abortion is a sin, it is one that can be forgiven. The woman who condemns herself for the deed need only ask for His forgiveness. If she does, she will find it. And one day, she will be reunited with her child. So, truly, not all is lost. Anyone who suggests different is just a stone thrower. Now, what was it that Jesus said about throwing the first stone?