All is Lost follows the story of an unnamed protagonist (Robert Redford) who's sailing alone at sea. Everything is going fine until his ship comes into a collision with a shipping container and begins to sink down into the ocean, where he will never be found. Now, this sailor must find a way to survive and to get back to land, but when things go from bad to worse, it appears that all may be lost after all.
All is Lost is a breathtaking spectacle. There really hasn't been another film quite like All is Lost, well for a long time at least. It's a one of a kind cinematic venture that's both thrilling and engaging despite having literally only one cast member. Robert Redford gives an immersive performance as a character we know next to nothing about, but still care for his struggles. I'm not joking around either, we know absolutely nothing about why he's at sea, what's he doing, what his name is etc. there are, aside from an opening voice over, just two lines of dialogue in this film, neither of which tell us much about this mysterious, yet intriguing character.
The film was a frustratingly brilliant experience. All is Lost had me, no joke, bitting at my nails. Not only this, but I was also yelling towards the screen in frustration at the events being shown. This didn't happen because they were graphic, much like in Lars Von Trier films, but because it was so stressful to watch and I was longing for this man to live. I simultaneously wanted this film to be over and for it to never end due to the reactions it was stirring up whilst watching it. The hour and a half is far from an easy viewing, but it's not one that I regret.
The film is a grand technical achievement. It's not a big budgeted special effects bonanza, but instead All is Lost is a mid-budgeted, $9 million to be exact, and extraordinary piece of cinema. Everything about the editing is just glorious; from the pacing, the sound effects, the realism and even the risks they were willing to take when writing the film, which doesn't have a lot to do with editing, but needs to be mentioned nonetheless. The film's screenplay didn't even get to the fifty page mark, which, obviously, is a very ballsy, but resultful move.
To sum up, All is Lost is a breathtaking spectacle that's both engaging and frustrating to watch. It's a brilliant and unforgettable experience with an immersive performance from Robert Redford and many technical achievements.
4 1/2 Stars