All is Lost Blu-ray Review

A graphic appears which says that he is 1700 nautical miles from the Sumatra Straits. That tells you right there that is far away from land in the middle of the ocean. It would be the Indian Ocean to be exact. A voice over then comes on and states the man’s mistakes and regrets. ALL IS LOST is one man’s journey to survive and persevere.

Robert Redford in All Is Lost

Our Man is not given a name, but he is played by none other than Robert Redford. Redford had been known in the past for playing characters that were a bit younger than he was. That is not the case here. His wrinkles and worn skin are in full display for the audience to see and for Redford to encompass this character.

We know Our Man is sailing in the vast area of the ocean and that his sailboat is in trouble. The action is taken back 8 days from the voice over to show where his problems began. Water gushes in while he is sleeping. His vessel has struck a cargo container opening up a large hole. He rushes to see what can be done. ALL IS LOST can be seen also as a learning tool for trying to avert a crisis while sailing. There are things that Our Man does throughout that seem puzzling at first, but becomes clearer minutes later. Why is he pouring water on his equipment? He needs to get the salt water out. Why is he climbing up the mast? He is trying to fix the antennae for his radio equipment. Those are just two examples of actions Our Man takes that need time to develop to get a better understanding.

Robert Redford in All Is Lost

Director/Screenwriter J.C. Chandor has created a story and situation that none of us will probably ever face. That is what makes the film so fascinating. You never know what will happen next and what steps Our Man will take to rectify the situation. Chandor is a sailor himself and this helps in all the minutiae that goes on with sailing. His familiarity breeds confidence in that what you will see will ring true.

After Our Man seemingly fixes the hole with some nifty patch work and pumps out much of the water, you get the false sense of relief that his issues may be behind him. This of course would be a fallacy. His radio equipment is broken which causes the aforementioned trip up the mast. A bad storm causes irreparable damage to the sailboat. The cinematography during this sequence is breathtaking. It is handled by the tag team of Frank G. DeMarco above water and Peter Zuccarini underwater. Redford did much of the stunts involved in this production and he takes a beating for his art.

Robert Redford in All Is Lost

Chandor is basically giving us a taste of mortality with this tale. He’s asking us what we would do to stay alive in the most extreme circumstances. He also shows that Mother Nature is not something to trifle with.

The sound technicians and composer Alex Ebert should be lauded for their exceptional work. The sound is another character that comes alive. You hear the sailboat creaking, waves crashing, swirling wind and the desperation in Our Man’s breathing. The score by Ebert is nonintrusive and just under that surface at first. Then it slowly builds when the desperation seeps in.

Robert Redford in All is Lost trailer

This is Redford’s movie through and through. The story rests and falls on his shoulders. Redford does some of his best acting of his career. There is little dialogue to go by and he has to convey emotions through his eyes, his slumped shoulders or other assorted movements. Our Man transfers himself to a lifeboat as his sailboat succumbs to the ocean. The glance that Redford makes says it all. He tries to make do by calculating where he is at and eating meals out of a can. His exasperation reaches a boiling point when he discovers his spare water had been contaminated. The selective use of dialogue here is well placed. Cargo ships pass by without seeing him. The last 15 minutes are intense as the clock ticks away for Our Man.

Chandor has created a gem in ALL IS LOST. The meticulous use of visual effects, sound, spotless editing and impeccable acting by Redford are all blended together for a robust and intense movie experience.


Video: The transfer looks great on this Blu-ray. The blues and grays are quite striking.

Audio: This is the Blu-ray you want to test out your expensive entertainment system. You feel like you are out there in the open waters with Robert Redford.

Feature Commentary: Candor and two of the producers give a thorough commentary on the process and what all goes on.

The Story (3:45): The genesis of the story is talked about with the various principals including Redford, Chandor and the producers.

The Filmmaker: J.C. Chandor (3:17): Chandor goes over his process and extensive use of storyboards. Others involved in the project say how intense and relentless he was in making the film.

The Actor: Robert Redford (4:25): Redford relays the work he does for this film. He also talks of his relationship with Chandor and how he let him do his work without interference. Chandor states that Redford was the only person he had in mind for this project.

The Sound of All is Lost (11:59): All the technicians and the composer talk about the crucial aspect of the sound in this film. This is a great and informative feature where you actually learn some things.

Big Film, Little Film (6:11): The filmmakers and Redford discuss the making of the movie. The challenges of the film and what went on are elaborated in detail. One thing you learn is that three sailboats were used during filming.

Preparing for the Storm (7:58): Chandor goes over his process in making ALL IS LOST. He discusses the storyboards, pre-shoot, production and visual effects.


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