‘All is Lost’ and its sense of purity


All is Lost‘All is Lost’ is a brave movie. How else can be described a movie that has about a half page of dialogue (better said: monologue) and which is launched at a time of big productions, blockbusters, and remakes.

I saw the poster of the movie in the London underground last December. Robert Redford battling rough sea and bad weather on a sailing boat. I thought that it may be one of those end of career movies that still bet everything on the name of the lead actor and a good PR and marketing machine.

How wrong I was.

Robert Redford is alone in front of the camera for the whole 106 minutes of the movie. We speaks just a couple of times. Few sentences where he declares that ‘All is Lost’ and says his goodbye to life is accompany the opening credits. That’s it.

The rest is his struggle to keep his sailing boat afloat when in a dead calm sea a container which had fallen from one of the mega-cargo ships off the coats of Sumatra, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, hits his boat.

There are no flashbacks, no memories of the past, no indication of who this man is, where is he coming from and why is he sailing alone at his old age.

While watching the movie I thought that if one starts a sailing trip alone he must certainly know that things can go wrong and when things do go wrong in the middle of the ocean it can mean serious troubles. In a sense, by embarking on such a trip and at an old age, this man has said good bye to humanity. Maybe he hopes that things go wrong.

The container hitting the sailing boat and opening a hole just above the water is to me a metaphor of life and the realization of old age. We navigate life in our bodies until one day something hits us. It can be a disease, an accident, or simply the wearing of body parts that have worked without a fault for years and years. At one point, a moment comes when we need to make repairs, we can try to fix the hole above the water line, we also manage to feel better and to stay afloat. But the truth is that something deeper which cannot be fixed has been damaged by the passing of time. We can fix something here, but something else breaks somewhere else as in the saling boat in the movie. A chain of events that cannot be stopped.

A container maybe the last thing one thinks he will hit in the middle of the ocean. Despite all the technology on board it s a container full of sneakers that causes the main damage and from there is all downhill (or uphill). So it’s life, even though we live under the illusion that we can control it and have the instruments to navigate it without end.

‘All is Lost’ has a sense of purity about life and living which is rare to find nowadays. Great acting. A real story that touches something deep inside.

1 Comment

  1. Good review. Redford truly was amazing here that it’s a shame he didn’t get nominated for his work here. Oh well, at least he’s still considered one of the best.

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