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All Is Lost picks up rave reviews for Robert Redford at Cannes

All Is Lost

Story by Jack Foley

ROBERT Redford has been winning rave reviews in Cannes for his latest film, All Is Lost.

Directed by JC Chandor, of Oscar-nominated Margin Call fame, the film follows a man as he fights for survival after being lost at sea.

Variety wrote of the film that it is “an impressively spare, nearly dialogue-free stranded-at-sea drama that strips characterization down to basic survival instinct”.

Their critic, Justin Chang, added: “This emotionally resonant one-man showcase for Robert Redford faces a fair number of marketing challenges, given its audacious minimalism and proximity to a much splashier castaway adventure, Life of Pi…”

All Is Lost, then, is that mainstream-movie rarity: a virtually wordless film that speaks with grave eloquence and simplicity about the human condition. Nothing here feels fancy or extraneous, least of all Redford’s superb performance, in which the clearly invigorated actor (having a bit of a comeback year with this and The Company You Keep) holds the viewer’s attention merely by wincing, scowling, troubleshooting and yelling the occasional expletive.”

The Guardian‘s Andrew Pulver, meanwhile, wrote: “Redford delivers a tour de force performance: holding the screen effortlessly with no acting support whatsoever.”

And The Hollywood Reporter said: “Robert Redford gives an impressive one-man show in this sea-stranded survival tale.”

It continued: “Redford keeps the film afloat, even as his character has no such luck with his boat, in All Is Lost, a rugged, virtually dialogue-free survival-at-sea story that sustains attention against considerable odds. Some may dub it Life of Pi without the tiger, but while the stranded seafarer situation is the same, the intent and tone are decidedly different.

“J.C. Chandor, whose excellent first feature Margin Call was most distinguished by its terrific dialogue, goes the opposite way here with a Hemingwayesque story devoted entirely to physical externals.”

What Culture, meanwhile, opined: “A grim and rather relentless analogy for the slow march towards death: every bad thing can and does happen, with almost comical inevitability, and by the hour mark, you find yourself begging for a shark attack that might put poor Red out of his misery.”

And The Independent awarded it five stars and wrote: “All Is Lost could have been very dull if it was just a yarn about a sailor stuck on a boat in the middle of nowhere. What gives it such urgency is the constant changes in the circumstances Redford faces.”

It added that the film is “exceptionally compelling”.

Screen Daily also raved, writing: “Engrossing both dramatically and as a minimalist narrative exercise, All Is Lost is a survival-at-sea story powered by an emphasis on realism and a refusal to allow any false emotional beats to impede on this unsentimental tale.”

The film is playing out of competition at Cannes. As yet, there is no UK release date.

Next story: Jack Thorne’s War Book to commence principal photography in July