ALL IS LOST
Fight for Survival
Starring: Robert Redford
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 106 minutes
Distributor: Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate
Director: J. C. Chandor
Executive Producer: Robert Ogden Barnum, Glen
Basner, Joshua Blum, Howard
Cohen, Eric d’Arbeloff,
Producer: Neal Dodson, Anna Gerb, Sean
Akers, Erin Feeley, Luisa
Gomez de Silva
Writer: J.C. Chandor
Address Comments To:Jon Feltheimer, CEO, Lionsgate Films AKA Lions Gate Films (Summit Entertainment/Roadside Attractions)
2700 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 449-9200; Fax: (310) 255-3870
The movie begins with what seems like the end of the story as a man’s voice is heard reading his last letter before his death, stating that he tried everything he could. The story then flashes back eight days and a man (Robert Redford) is awakened to a loud bump while sleeping in tranquility below deck in his yacht. He discovers that a metal shipping container has collided with his yacht, and he’s now alone and stranded. He frees his vessel with water gushing in the side of the boat where the shipping container was lodged. With all his electronics now wet and nonfunctioning, he’s lost at sea and must use what he knows as a seaman to survive.
The man spends the next couple of days repairing the boat and fixing and drying out his electronics to navigate the boat and hopefully place an SOS call. He eventually gets the water out and goes into survival mode – rationing his food, reading maps and fixing/adjusting his sails.
When a fierce storm suddenly comes up, he has to go out into the storm to steer the yacht manually. The water grows so tumultuous the yacht is capsized, and he goes overboard, but he holds on until the waves turn the boat back upright. He manages to weather this storm, but there is more damage done to the boat and water gushes into the cabin.
He realizes he will have to let it go. He gets the inflatable life raft all the survival gear he can manage and boards the life raft. He still maintains a degree of calm and composure. Then, another storm comes. Eventually, his lifeboat is filling with water so he exits but stays close to it since it is still afloat. He survives this trial as well, and as he waits on the sea, two ships sails by and he struggles to send a flares. Sharks are also aware of the man and begin circling the lifeboat. Later, knowing “all is lost,” he writes something on a paper (most likely the letter read at the beginning of the story), seals it in a jar and drops it into the sea.
ALL IS LOST is extremely well shot. The panoramic views of the sea and sky as well as the underwater footage beneath the lifeboat and schools of fish/sharks ground the audience in the story. The camera shots also expand the audience’s perspective on where the character is and what he could be about to face. ALL IS LOST is also fine example of classic Hollywood storytelling able to SHOW the story through pictures with creatively constructed plot points of the man’s attempts, failures, tenacity, emotion, and tactics in his fight for survival. The story creates a nameless central character for the audience to identify with and hope for to the bitter end – all with very minimal dialogue. Robert Redford does an outstanding job of portraying this man alone with the sea. The sound design was haunting at times characterizing the vastness and unlimited depths of the sea with its mystery and power.
ALL IS LOST has a light Christian worldview. The man never prays or even calls out to God, but there is a God-given fight in him to live and not die, against all the odds. He risks his life to go back to the boat and retrieve some valuable mementos, including a journal that he later tears a paper from to leave a letter to loved ones.
Spiritually speaking, a number of parallels can be drawn to ALL IS LOST and how God is still there in the midst of life’s trials and storms. [SPOILERS FOLLOW] At the end when truly all is lost, and the man is treading water with nothing else left to do or concoct, and his lifeboat ablaze, he is all that’s left. When he finally lets go of all he could do, a light shines down on his face from above, and once again he fights to live and grabs hold of the hand that will draw him out of the water.
So many times in life and in the Christian experience we get to our wits’ end. We come to the end of what we know to do, and what we know to be possible in our limited human strength. We go through dark times of uncertainty, fear and inadequacy. It’s in these times that when we let go, and surrender to God, He is faithful to shine the light on our situation and reach down at the darkest point of our need. God at times has to wait for all to be lost to get the attention of the one thing most precious to Him – us.
ALL IS LOST is am excellent movie. MOVIEGUIDE® does, however, give a caution for younger children because of intense scenes of survival and danger. There’s also one obscenity in ALL IS LOST, when the protagonist hollers the “f” word when he’s finally at his wits’ end.
ALL IS LOST is a fine example of classic Hollywood storytelling, with carefully constructed plot points. The story also creates a nameless central character for the audience to relate – using very minimal dialogue. Robert Redford does an outstanding job. ALL IS LOST has a light Christian worldview. Only when the man is able to let go and surrender does he find hope for his survival. That said, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for younger children due to intense survival scenes and one obscenity.