"I'm sorry... I know that means little at this point, but I am. I tried, I think you would all agree that I tried. To be true, to be strong, to be kind, to love, to be right. But I wasn't. And I know you knew this. In each of your ways. And I am sorry. All is lost here..." - Our Man
And so begins the story of an unnamed man and his battle against nature. All Is Lost is a harrowing look at eight days in the life of a sailor and all the measures he takes to ensure his survival. Waking up from a nap to find his boat has been struck by a wayward shipping container, Our Man quickly finds himself on the offensive against Mother Nature leading to some of the most intense 100 minutes of 2013.
Robert Redford gives one of the best performances of his long and storied career here, holding your attention with nothing but his presence. This is an actor at the top of his game, given a relatively dialogue free screenplay and commanding the screen through sheer talent. You truly feel for Our Man as one terrible situation after another comes his way; from the wayward shipping container that begins his plight to horrific storms and a malfunctioning radio, Redford is constantly overcoming one horrible situation after another.
J.C. Chandor's work behind the camera is astounding. Directing from his own screenplay, which was only about 30 pages long, Chandor impresses at every point. Though barely any words are spoken throughout the film, it's never boring which is a true credit to his talent as a filmmaker. All Is Lost is only his second film and judging from that we'll be able to enjoy his work for many years to come.
Described by some as Gravity on a boat, All Is Lost is far more effective than Alfonso Cuarón's film mostly because it's more relatable. Very few, if any of us will ever become astronauts but being stranded in the middle of nowhere here on earth is all too real and all too possible. Gravity was a very good film, All Is Lost is a great film, Chandor does more with so much less and the journey is all the more effective for it.
A great story of survival with one of the single best performances of 2013, All Is Lost is a phenomenal experience.