Label: No Colours Records - NC 144 • Format: CD Album, Limited Edition, Numbered Digipak • Country: Germany • Genre: Rock • Style: Black Metal
Reading this on mobile? Click here to view video. All is LostJC Chandor's tense disaster movie about a stricken yacht in a wide blue ocean, opens with a bang and then proceeds to undress itself at speed, tossing everything over the side in an effort to stay afloat. Watching it is a little like observing an expert game of Hollywood Jenga, or a neat twist on the Jean-Luc Godard maxim that all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun.
Chandor boils his film down All Is Lost - Murk - All Is Löst the bare essentials. He eases out the usual building blocks of cast and dialogue and back-story to leave us with the spartan spectacle of an old man and a boat. About halfway through, he removes the boat. The old man is played by Robert Redford77 last birthday, his sandy hair turning white at the temples.
He wakes up one morning to find that his yacht, the Virginia Jean, has collided with a shipping container and is now holed at the waterline. The cabin is sloshing, the radio is dead and he is adrift in the middle of the Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles from land.
All the old man can hear is the creak of the ropes and the slap of the waves. All he can see is the far horizon: the flat sea meeting the flat sky with barely a join between the two.
Who is this sailor? Where does he come from? Chandor never All Is Lost - Murk - All Is Löst fit to tell us. His hero remains a deliberate stencil, defined solely by the crisis around him and the actions he takes. Ironically, given the abundance of ocean, All is Lost is an entirely depthless drama.
Here is a film that exists purely in the moment, bouncing us inexorably from the bad to the worse. There is no journey towards redemption and no cosy life lesson lying in wait at the end. There's just the sea and the sky and the struggle to survive.
Chandor's ironclad minimalism has you gasping for air. One night after the Virginia Jean hits the container full of trainers, a storm blows in and duly snaps off its mast. The sailor is spun Όπου Γιώργος Και Μάλαμα - Μητσάκης*, Γιάννης Μπογδάνος, Φραντζέσκα Καββαδία, Σοφία Διαμαντή, Δημήτρη inside the hold like clothes inside a tumble dryer.
He is knocked into open water and sustains a cut to his scalp. His one hope, we come to realise, is to chart a course towards the shipping lanes and possible salvation. But the Virginia Jean is hobbled and useless; a tired old body that must be quickly cast off. In the darkness, the storm still raging, the sailor inflates his life raft and cuts Church Loft - Benni Hemm Hemm - Retaliate cord.
He then watches, battered and sodden, as the yacht goes down without a trace. Since this sailor has no name, why not call him Robert Redford? This, I think, is what the film implicitly invites us to do. In denying the viewer any character profile, any hint of a back-story beyond the glint of a wedding ring, it encourages us to fill in the gaps with what we know of the actor.
You don't cast Redford in a role such as this without being aware of the baggage that he drags in his wake. Chandor knows full well that when we look at his sailor we see the Sundance Kid, fallen on shockingly hard times. We watch the film, at least on one level, as the story of a man named Robert Redford who sets out on a bold new adventure, only to discover that the world has grown wild and his body's grown weak.
Before long he is fighting fires on every side. All Is Lost - Murk - All Is Löst hair is a mess and his clothes are sopping wet. Chandor sends him huffing and puffing from one fraught set piece to the next, his jaw set, his eyes exhausted.
Is Redford even acting here? It must have been a gruelling shoot. He looks pretty much done in. Once, long ago, Chandor's unnamed sailor was the corn-fed golden boy of American cinema. He played princely Jay Gatsby, a wild west hero and the crusading reporter who brought down Richard Nixon. He had the world at his feet and the Sundance film festival to his name. And yet, in its subtle, knowing fashion, All is Lost takes a lifetime of achievements and throws them into the drink.
Chandor's icy, intense and brilliantly unadorned drama recasts the Hollywood legend as a desperate ancient mariner, travelling solo on what may prove to be his last significant voyage.
He is battered by storms and blown at speed towards the far horizon. And this, I suspect, is the abiding message of this otherwise message-less film. Happy New Year, all is lost. It was just an illusion and you can't take it with you. Early on, his troubles just begun, Redford stands at the prow and smiles into the sunset. He knows what All Is Lost - Murk - All Is Löst coming and is briefly at peace. Facebook Twitter Pinterest.
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