For your consideration: All Is Lost
All Is Lost is a survival story of one man, played by Robert Redford, who encounters some big trouble on the Indian Ocean and must struggle to survive. The premise may be interesting, a la Cast Away, but I was lost and unimpressed with All Is Lost.
There is a good reason why feature-length films have dialogue. Dialogue not only moves the story along, but also tells us perhaps a backstory, allowing us to assess the character’s motivation. I would have loved a backstory on Redford’s character. I would have even settled for a dialogue-free montage, just to let me know why he is in the ocean and why he has any desire to live. I am left with only questions by the time the story ends.
The story opens with his narration of a letter we assume he is writing to someone. Cherish these few words, because this is the entire dialogue you are going to get throughout the film. “I’m sorry. I know that means little at this point, but I am. I tired. I think you would agree that I tried. To be true, strong, kind, to love, to be right. But I wasn’t. All is lost.” With that uttered surely the film will unfold the simple points such as who is he writing this letter to? Who did he fail? Who is he apologizing to? Sorry folks, we never find that out, but instead we get a good look at a really nice, well-equipped sail boat and how it fares in rough water. We also see Redford give us minimal facial expressions, none of which gives us any clue to his depth or desire to survive. Here is a man, lost at sea, simply going through the motions so that “they” can see he tried.
There is a reason why Cast Away worked, a reason why Sandra Bullock’s time alone in a space capsule in Gravity kept us engaged. The reason is simple character development through dialogue, backstory, or their actions. All we know about this character is he is a man who tries to survive a series of unfortunate events. The story lacks so much that I was as lost as the character, left to drift on the indie film sea without one more line of dialogue to save me. Put this film in a bottle and send it out to see.
Rating- 1 star