23/12/2013

LFF Leftovers: All Is Lost

Contrary to popular belief 77-year-old Robert Redford never stopped appearing on screen even after his directing and festival duties took precedence, but it has been a while since he's done something that's genuinely interesting and features a top-notch performance. The man who's helped Redford achieve this is writer/director J. C. Chandor; a former commercial director who nabbed a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for his first film, Margin Call.  While his previous film was stuffed with megastars and Demi Moore, Chandor pulls back and focuses on one man trying to survive while lost as sea.

There's practically no dialogue and Redford is the only cast member, but despite recent 'claustrocore' films that take a while to get going, All Is Lost dives straight in and has a worrying sense of doom lurking throughout its 100 minute running time. First his boat collides with a shipping container, then a storm hits, then he has to salvage what he can before jumping ship (tee hee) to an inflatable life raft, and things continue to get worse for the poor bastard. As good as it is you can't even say you enjoyed watching it because it's so fucking tense; I just wanted it to be over before I gnawed by fingers down to the bone. And while jeopardy is usually missing from many Hollywood films because they love a happy ending and never like to kill off a star, with this I genuinely didn't know where it was going to end. Gripping stuff.