All Is Lost
Hope springs eternal
By Demi Braque
Academy Award-winning director Robert Redford (Ordinary People) returns to the big screen in the physically-acted caper All is Lost, an open-water survival tale about one man’s battle against the elements after his sailboat is severely dented at sea. With very few words uttered in the entire movie, some asking for help repeatedly on a static radio and passing ships while the other an expletive, Redford dominates the screen with his commanding presence even without dialogue. His foreboding soliloquy, read from a written message in a bottle, at the start of the movie makes him sound like some prophet of doom with no chances of ever making it. With that voiced-over spiel, the tone of the movie is set.
Deep into a solo voyage on the Sumatra Straits in the Indian Ocean, this unnamed man (Redford) wakes to find his 39-foot yacht taking on water after an allusion with a shipping container adrift on the high seas. With his navigational equipment and radio disabled, he sails unknowingly unto the path of two violent storms. His predicament is in direct contrast to the surroundings, as seen from the beautifully captured underwater photography.
Despite his success in patching the breached hull, his mariner’s intuition and weakening strength barely survives the tempest. Using only a sextant and nautical maps from his survival kit to chart his progress, he is forced to rely on ocean currents to carry him into a shipping lane in hopes of hailing a passing vessel. Two passed him but neither realized his distress call.
With the sun unrelenting, sharks circling and his meager supplies dwindling, the ever-resourceful sailor soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face. Despite his dexterity as a helmsman, superb survival instincts and sailor smarts, Redford, in a moment of hopelessness burned his raft, albeit unintentionally, in the process of calling for help.
Written and directed by J.C. Chandor, with a musical score by Alex Ebert, the film is a gripping, visceral and powerfully-moving tale on vulnerability and helplessness. Cinematographer Peter Zuccarini beautifully captured the scenes to create a powerful montage made more credible by a fab foley.One of the nominated films in this year’s Oscar race, All is Lost opens exclusively at SM Cinemas starting Feb 5th. E-Plus members get to enjoy a 50 per cent (half-price) markdown on admission prices. For more information, simply log-on to their Web site, www.smcinema.com