All Is Lost: Man overboard, viewer underwhelmed

In these days where many cinematic works are driven by lengthy dialogues, action-heavy sequences and mind-blowing effects, director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) strips away the excesses of filmmaking in his latest drama to give a stark portrayal of man’s will to survive.

Our man in the film (Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid) runs into a series of unfortunate events at sea, which begins with a minor collision with a stray cargo container, and struggles to survive with limited resources.

But who is he? Our man hardly speaks, and we never knew his name, where he’s from, where he’s going, or why the heck he’s drifting on the Indian Ocean. An enigma that contributes intrigue to a rather straightforward plot, and though certain visual cues hint at his status in life, the absence of speech and lack of knowing makes it a little hard for one to establish emotional connection with the one and only character during the course of the film. We found ourselves gradually losing interest in what he is doing.   

Granted there are a few thrilling waterlogged escapades, admirable moments of resource, sufficient acting chops and beautiful underwater shots, but sadly these aren’t enough to sustain our interest. Perhaps we’ve grown accustomed to the more blockbuster-y entertainment on screen like Cast Away and Captain Phillips. There may be more to the film than we realize, but you have to be into it to fish it out. On the surface though, watching a single man think of how to stay afloat for a good two hours can be a little stale.

All Is Lost opens in cinemas islandwide on Feb 20, 2014. Book your tickets at Shaw Theatres.

Trailer for All Is Lost