Monday, November 10, 2014

All is Lost

Written and directed by J.C. Chandor, All is Lost is the story of a man who is lost at sea as he endures a terrible storm as well as other things in his boat. The film is a simple story of survival as it revolves on a man in the middle of the sea as he is played by Robert Redford. The result is a spellbinding yet mesmerizing film of survival from J.C. Chandor.

Set in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the film revolves around the week of the life of a man who wakes up finding that his yacht has collided with a shipping container which has severely damaged the hull of his boat. Yet, it’s just the start of a series of challenges for this man who would endure a lot during this boating expedition across the sea. The film’s script doesn’t have much of a structure nor any back story about this unnamed man as it’s more focused on him trying to survive in the middle of the Indian Ocean with a damaged boat as much of the electronic equipment he has is already damaged by water. There is very little dialogue in the film as it’s more about action and a man trying to survive with all of the skills and tools he has. Even as he has to fix his boat and endure everything from mother nature as well as storms that could kill anything.

J.C. Chandor’s direction is very intense as it’s shot mostly on a boat and in the water though much of it is actually shot in a studio in Mexico to give the feel that it is shot in the open sea. While there are some wide shots, much of it is very intimate where it’s often on the boat or from above to showcase this man trying to fix it and prepare for what is to come. Much of the camera work is hand-held to capture not just a sense of intimacy but also the idea of what it’s like to be in the middle of a sea on a damaged boat. There’s also moments that play into what has to be done as there’s some scenes shot underwater to display the intensity of a man trying to survive heavy storms in the Indian Ocean. Even as there’s some moments where it looks like there’s glimmers of hope but Chandor’s emphasis to keep things realistic play into the drama as well as the air of suspense that plays into whether this man could survive this ordeal. Overall, Chandor creates a very chilling yet thrilling film about a man surviving in the middle of the sea.

Cinematographer Frank G. DeMarco does amazing work with the film‘s very colorful yet exquisite cinematography from the look of the open sea in the daytime when it‘s sunny to some of the interiors of the boat as well as the use of lights for the scenes at night that features some gorgeous underwater photography courtesy of Peter Zuccarini. Editor Pete Beaudreau does brilliant work in creating some jump-cuts and offbeat rhythms to play into the drama and sense of dread that looms over the film. Production designer John P. Goldsmith, with set decorator Ramirez Gabriela and art director Marco Niro, does excellent work with the look of the yacht in its interior and exteriors as well as the life raft and the shipping container that damaged the boat. Costume designer Van Broughton Ramsey does nice work with the costumes which is mostly just casual as well as the rain gear that the man would wear.

The visual effects work of Collin Davies, Robert Munroe, and Brendan O’Dell do superb work with the visual effects for a few scenes set underwater as well as some of the thunderstorm scenes on the sea. Sound editors Steve Boedekker and Richard Hymns do fantastic work with the sound to convey some of the calm aspects of the sea as well as the layers of sound during the storms and the feel of a boat being punished by treacherous waters. The film’s music by Alex Ebert is incredible for its mixture of ambient music with low-key string pieces with some choral arrangements as well as song in the final credits.

Finally, there’s Robert Redford in a truly towering performance as this unnamed man trying to survive the treacherous Indian Ocean. It’s a performance that is the heart and soul of the film as Redford doesn’t say much other than a voice-over in the film’s opening scene as well as a few words in his attempt to make contact. Even as there’s moments which has Redford doing much of his own stunts to convey that struggle to survive at its most punishing. It’s really a performance for the ages from Redford who gives it his all and more in this film.

All is Lost is an astonishing film from J.C. Chandor that features a tremendous performance from Robert Redford. It’s a film that manages to take a very simple premise while doing so much with it without the need of any kind of conventional ideas of storytelling and formulas in order to tell a much more realistic and gripping story about survival. In the end, All is Lost is a magnificent film J.C. Chandor.

J.C. Chandor Films: Margin Call - A Most Violent Year - (Triple Frontier) - (Kraven the Hunter) - (The Auteurs #73: J.C. Chandor)

© thevoid99 2014


Anonymous said...

This really is such a well crafted movie. I didn't love it, but I respected it, and Redford was astonishing. Nice write up!

thevoid99 said...

Thanks. I enjoyed the hell out of it. I just loved how simple it needed to be and not go for anything that is conventional.

ruth said...

I was impressed by Margin Call so I might check this one out. I have no doubt Redford could hold the screen on his own for 2 hrs. It takes an actor of his stature and charisma to pull it off though.

thevoid99 said...

@ruth-Oh, this is definitely a better film than Margin Call as it manages to be so much more and Redford is in top form.