All is Lost (2013)

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This is my review from when I saw All is Lost at the Brisbane International Film Festival in November 2013, I’m reprinting it today because it (finally) receives a limited release.

“This is the Virginia Jean, with an SOS call.”

Or: 127 Hours: To the Sea
Gravity: Titanic Edition

Yesterday was an interesting day to see All is Lost. I started my day reading an article on RopeOfSilicon regarding the fact a DVD release date has already been set, which was inevitable considering the smaller push behind in comparison to Gravity, much, much less screens and similar themes. I ended my day seeing this groundbreaking, inventive film that everyone should definitely go see while they can, and experience it on the biggest screen they can.

From the opening monologue, you know that All is Lost is not going to be as uplifting or optimistic as Gravity, and a lot more experimental. The fact this is only J.C. Chandor’s second feature is staggering. There is a true talent in the making here, being brave enough to create a feature of this grade which is probably a harder sell than many others: only one actor, close to no dialogue, the entire thing is set in the Indian Ocean. There is a lot of responsibility here, and Chandor does an incredible job. It steers away from cliche, uplifting routes without a doubt, throwing us a curveball just when we think we’ve got the ending pegged based on the beginning, and not doing things like showing an obligatory shark swimming past when the boat has been upturned.

As the lone actor, Redford does a stunning job, carrying the film totally with realism, determination and true grit, working with little dialogue, instead having to rely on facial expressions and mannerisms. The runtime is carried very lightly, I was never once bored or uninterested. The biggest marvels apart from writing, direction and acting, however, are the sound design and special effects. The ability to create and photograph outer space so breathtakingly in Gravity is a marvel, but how the ocean has been created so realistically here is incredible, I felt as though I was being thrown around, the rain spraying onto my face.

In previous years, survival films have been immensely popular, with 127 HoursGravity, and now All is Lost, which comes out on top. Support this groundbreaking feature of sheer human determination and see it while you can.

Rating: 4.5/5

-Ella

All is Lost receives a limited release starting today (March 6), after playing BIFF in November 2013.

M (infrequent coarse language), 106 mins.

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