This is the film with a performance from Robert Redford that a lot of film critics saw as the one that got away as far as an Oscar nomination was concerned. He did win the New York Film Critics’ Circle Award however. He is the only person on screen for the whole film and hardly has a line to say. What he brings to the film is a collection of wonderful career performances, and his work to encourage independent film through the annual Sundance Festival, from which he has garnered a great deal of audience affection and respect. Redford is now 77 years old and spent weeks in a tank making the film. The ordeal must have been almost as great as for the character he is playing and the role would count as an amazing swansong, if it were to be his last.
We do not know who this nameless person, this ancient mariner, is or why he is where he is, in peril on the sea. He falls into great danger, when his boat is damaged, but he remains calm and resourceful. It is a survival movie, a solitary person pitted against nature, a disaster movie but also an action film with mystery and beauty. Many critics have compared it to Gravity, where a lone astronaut fights for survival in space. Both films could be seen as having existential themes. Where the limited screenplay is made up for by the special effects in Gravity, it is the sound editing with every natural sound or creak of the boat that fills in for speech in All is Lost.
This film represents every sailor’s nightmare but has to be seen for what it says about the human spirit and endeavour.
Venue: William Loveless Hall