Monday, March 10, 2014

Film Review: All Is Lost (2013)

All Is Lost (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (Lionsgate)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a barebones survival film."

In the Indian Sea, a man (Robert Redford) begins his fight for survival after his boat hits a stray shipping container snowballing into a series of misfortune...

All Is Lost is a fairly simple narrative. The world's most unluckiest man, who remains nameless throughout, struggles to survive in the middle of the Indian Sea. Beginning immediately with his ship clashing with a shipping container, his ship is aesthetically damaged, and most of his electronic equipment is sabotaged; his week gets worse as he faces a ferocious storm immediately after repairing his boat. But, he triumphs over the storm and continues his fight for survival by salvaging his boat and any supplies before departing into his inflatable life raft. From there on, the battle for survival continues in the same vain until it finally reaches its conclusion -- a rather disappointing ending to be honest.

All Is Lost is a barebones survival film. The plot is paper thin, and the dialogue is extremely limited. If you've seen any survival films in your lifetime, All Is Lost will feel very familiar -- that's because it is. All Is Lost plays out exactly how you'd expect it to without any surprises or innovations. By its own standard, All Is Lost is an interesting enough film to keep you, well, interested. All Is Lost offers several set prices, usually massive storms, that keep you on the edge with pure thrills and suspense, and even terror in some cases; the rest of the film focuses on the main character's survival. Unfortunately, it feels very uneventful and drawn out; it helps develop the character in a masterfully subtle and often ambiguous manner, but it really slows down an already slow film -- it almost becomes dreadfully slow paced -- I mean, you don't have to show every frame of the man changing clothes, shaving, eating, writing every single word without narration, and so on.

Robert Redford is great and holds the show on his own; he has very subtle characteristics and develops an honest character without much dialogue -- an impressive performance. The stunts, which were mostly performed by Redford, are breathtaking. In fact, the storms and the choreography of these set prices is wonderful. The film is beautifully captured, the cinematography is magnificent. The score is also mesmerizing in amplifying the emotion; although it's often not used at all or used subtly, the score was very effective. J. C. Chandor is a great director and writer, but the film feels stretched out and unfocused.

Overall, I liked All is Lost. I really did enjoy it. Redford is fantastic, and it is technically masterfully made. But, it's often uneventful, it often moves at a dreadfully slow pace, and it suffers from the "been there done that" curse, consequently making this hour and forty minute feature feel like a two hour thirty minute film. In other words, this would've been much better as a short film, or at least a shorter film.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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