J.C. Chandor's All Is Lost

Oscar-nominated director J.C. Chandor tapped none other than Robert Redford to star in the follow-up to his debut feature. Redford's Sundance Film Festival debuted Chandor's Margin Call in 2011 and the filmmaker used his Sundance connections to ask Redford to star in All Is Lost. In the film, Redford stars as a man lost in the Indian Ocean after his pleasure craft is damaged following a collision with a shipping container. The actor is the only cast member and there is very little dialogue.

The film screened at the Cannes Film Festival, where some attendees expressed skepticism that a feature-length film with little dialogue about a man struggling against the elements could have mass appeal. But the feature managed to dazzle audiences in the south of France, and much credit goes to Redford's amazing performance.

“There was a film that I really did not expect much of based on how it looked on paper, and that’s [JC Chandor's] All is Lost,” said industry insider Aaron Hillis on FilmLinc's Daily Buzz podcast from Cannes. “I thought, well this seems like a little Perfect Storm, a little Castaway. Seemed like kind of a gimmicky thing. And I felt that it was some of the most visceral and classy filmmaking I have seen. It’s a one-man action movie.”

Robert Redford in All Is Lost

Critics agreed, with The Guardian saying that “Redford delivers a tour de force performance: holding the screen effortlessly with no acting support whatsoever.” Variety raved that the movie “holds the viewer’s attention merely by wincing, scowling, troubleshooting and yelling the occasional expletive.” The Telegraph agreed, saying, “The film's scope is limited, but as far as it goes, All Is Lost is very good indeed: a neat idea, very nimbly executed.”

Word-of-mouth spread in Cannes and the festival eventually decided to add another screening of All Is Lost, which played out of competition.

All Is Lost
U.S., 2013, 106 min.
Writer/Director: J.C. Chandor
Cast: Robert Redford

NYFF Official Description:

Robert Redford, as you’ve never seen him before, stars in this riveting survival story in which a lone sailor finds his yacht sinking after a collision with a discarded shipping container in the middle of the Indian Ocean. As the days pass and his options steadily dwindle, the luckless and nameless protagonist—identified in the credits as “Our Man”—takes every step possible in a struggle for self-preservation that puts his intelligence and practicality to the ultimate test. Focusing on a sole individual contending with the forces of nature who speaks only a handful of words throughout, this remarkable second effort by director J.C. Chandor is a genuine technical feat, all the more impressive for being the diametrical opposite of his debut Margin Call, with its ensemble cast, interior locations, and intricate dialogue-driven action. But in the end the film belongs to Redford’s fearless performance, alone onscreen from start to finish, facing the prospect of death with quiet determination.