Every year there a few upsets when Oscar nominations are announced. How did one movie get nominated when another didn’t? How did some performance win all the critics choice awards in the lead up, then not even get a mention at Academy Awards time? Why did anyone ever think a glorified tele movie like The Kids Are Alright deserved a nomination (don’t remember that movie? Exactly). This year, the one Oscar snub I seem to have heard about the most is how did Robert Redford get overlooked for his performance in All is Lost? Now that I’ve seen All is Lost, the question I have is, HOW DID ROBERT REDFORD GET OVERLOOKED FOR HIS PERFROMANCE IN ALL IS LOST?
The movie opens 1700 nautical miles from the Sunda Strait. A voiceover from Robert Redford (billed as ‘Our Man’ in the IMDB credits) proclaims that all is lost. He’s stranded at sea, has no radio or means of communications and his down to his last half day rations. Cut to eight days earlier.
Our Man is woken below decks by a massive crash. He finds water spewing through a gaping whole in the side of his galley. Above decks, he finds a rogue shipping container has slammed into the side of his yacht and is now wedged in the hole it created. What follows is an amazing example of composure, expertise and ingenuity to overcome this first hurdle. What follows for the next 90 minutes makes the container and its impact seem like a drop in the ocean (see what I did there?).
All is Lost is all about Redford’s performance. Besides his opening voiceover, a brief attempt to send an SOS message and one very short, very earned outburst, the rest of this movie is completely dialogue free, and Redford manages to tell the entire story purely through his actions.
I don’t know a thing about sailing or boats, but somehow All is Lost made sure I was never confused. The intricacies of sailing on a clear day seem complicated enough, add to that holes in the boat, massive storms and broken instruments, and it could be an intimidating information overload for the viewer. But Redford’s Our Man makes sure we always know what he’s trying to do, why he’s trying to do it, and how important his actions are.
At 77 years old, Redford is in amazing shape and does a lot of really physical, really strenuous acting in this movie. If you were to read this story on paper, you’d think the age of the main character would make it a complete fairytale. But with All is Lost, you get to actually see this almost octogenarian do all of these things.
I’ve dedicated 500 words to this movie and Redford’s performance, and I haven’t been able to even scratch the surface of how good All is Lost really is. It’s seriously intense, edge of the seat, nail bighting stuff. And once the real severity of his situation is clear, it doesn’t let up for a single second. I’m sure I haven’t done this movie any justice with this review, you just really need to see it.