Monday, November 25, 2013


I had been looking forward to seeing this movie since I first heard about it being screened at the Cannes Film festival earlier this year. It takes a lot for me to become interested in going to see a movie especially in a theater. I subscribe to the notion that I will not be found on my death bed wishing I had spent more time watching movies, TV shows or playing video games or any other means by which many people seem to entertain themselves to death with these days. Time is precious and as one gets older one had better realize that and the sooner the better. From interviews with the films director J.C Chandor it seems that notion was also one of the reasons he wrote the movie. I also found it interesting that Chandor was inspired by seeing the boats stored for the winter that sailed during the summer in BIANKA's home waters of Long Island Sound as he explained in this article:

"It all started on a train in fall 2010. Writer-director J.C. Chandor found himself regularly commuting between Manhattan, where he was editing his first film, Margin Call, and Providence, R.I., where he lives with his wife and two young children. The tracks run along the coast of Connecticut, where he would see hundreds of boats -- not yachts, but more middle-class sailing vessels -- piled up on land for the winter. "There's sort of an absurdity of a boat on land," he remembers thinking.
At the same time, Chandor also found his thoughts revolving around questions of death -- and life. When he was 19, he survived a car accident that claimed the life of a friend. And during his early 30s -- when, he felt, he was letting his professional life slip by as he worked on music videos and commercials -- he witnessed the death of both his grandmothers. Suddenly, he says, "I had this tremendous energy about seizing the day, that every day has to be treated as a gift."- Hollywood Reporter

For me being on a boat intensifies those feelings of each day being a "gift" with every sunrise and sunset I see. But, it is not always fun either. I've been out in bad conditions a number of times when things stopped becoming "fun". Certainly not as bad as depicted in the movie but, miserable enough to be a learning experience. One thing you can say about the one and only character in ALL IS LOST played by a well weathered Robert Redford is that he is a "Jonah"  a sailor with an incredible amount of bad luck. But, experienced sailor's know that "stuff" happens when you're sailing and usually when you don't expect it. The movie highlights this by having events start to break bad for Redford's character on what would appear to be an otherwise beautiful day. That's the way it is sometimes on the water. The trick is to not panic and sometimes things are not as bad as it first appears as I have learned. But, the film also adds credence to the adage that the sea will find out everything you did wrong.
Chandor via Redford shows this side of sailing all pretty well too. Even as Redford's character meticulously assembles his survival supplies one mistake nearly cost him losing his all important water supply. He then had to improvise or die and that is just the way it is out on the water. The movie has several of these moments and also captures quite realistically what could happen as a sailboat and life raft are tossed about in storms. Including being rolled, dismasted and overturned. There are some things that would have made sense in real life situations that are missing in the film. For example to have an EPIRB beacon on board that would have made a rescue for Redford's more certain. But, not every sailor carries one (or wants to carry one) and they can certainly fail as most of his other technology on board did. My only major complaint is that one interior scene had entirely to much camera shaking that I found distracting. It looked more like Redford's character was in an earthquake rather than down below in a boat being pounded by waves. Otherwise I thought the film was a well done in that it realistically captured the things that can go wrong when one ventures out on the water in a boat and the lengths one may have to go through in order to survive. I give it the Captain Mike thumbs up.

All Is Lost

1 comment:

William Robin said...

That's so brilliant! May the wind always be the right strength and from a convenient direction. Find More