All Is Lost, Blu-ray (2013)

by | Feb 13, 2014 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

All Is Lost, Blu-ray (2013)

Cast: Robert Redford
Director: J.C. Chandor
Studio: Before the Door Pictures/ Lionsgate ((2/11/14) 2-disc set
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9, 1080p HD color
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English and Spanish
Extras: Commentary; Preparing for the Storm, Big Film, Small Film; Three Vignettes; The Sound of All is Lost
Length: 106 minutes
Rating: *****

I wasn’t sure what to expect watching All is Lost. It was buried in the local theaters, and the marketing missed the mark. I sat down to watch the movie with few expectations. All I can say is See This Movie.

It’s a simple take of a man’s struggle to remain alive after his sailboat collides with a stray container that fell off a ship. There is hardly any dialogue. A brief intro, then the rest is flashback. The only words I remember Robert Redford uttering are two expletives as his frustration at his situation builds.

This is a story told in picture and sound. Pictures of the sea and a small sailboat slowly being eaten away by mishap after mishap. And images of Redford, full of defiance and good plans that go awry. As a pretty experienced sailor I saw the character make a lot of mistakes. Firing the wrong kind of flares at the wrong time, letting things get wet that should not have gotten wet. But these are mistakes that are made every day at sea, and the sea is unforgiving of even the smallest errors.

In some ways, the film parallels Gravity, another movie about a single person facing daunting odds. But Gravity is filled with dialogue, while All is Lost is better-acted with hardly a word spoken. It’s no small accomplishment.

The end of the film is controversial, and I won’t spoil it here. It wasn’t what I expected, and it is open to wide interpretation.

About the disc: Beautiful video, sometimes looking a bit bleached to reflect the bright sun. There is much CGI here, but it doesn’t call attention to itself. The sound is what remains in my memory. Not in a  bombastic way, but listening in 5.1 DTS the realism was compelling. I felt I and been placed in Redford’s boat, with creaking sounds and the sound of the waves all around me It was very convincing, so much so that the sound mix becomes a character itself.

At the end of the film I was emotionally drained. That’s the power of a superb film. Redford wasn’t even Oscar nominated, but he deserved it.

All is Lost is intelligent movie making that works as art and high adventure. It’s the best movie I’ve seen in a long time!

—Mel Martin

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