Robert Redford stars in All is Lost, an ambitious and unorthodox effort by J.C. Chandor that sets a new high water mark for the modern cinema version of solitude.
Identified only as “Our Man” in the credits, Redford says almost nothing throughout, and for the duration of the movie, he is the only person in sight.
That's not an exaggeration. In the opening scene, we hear his voice as he composes a letter of apology and farewell. In a flashback, we hear a distress call.
Given that premise, can it deliver? And what do the critics have to say about All is Lost? Let's take a look at excerpts from some of this week's reviews ...
"You don't have to be a nervous studio executive to know it is a huge risk to hang an entire movie on a script with almost no dialogue and a single, brutally physical role for one actor edging toward 80. But Chandor has turned these limitations into virtues." - L.A. Times
"All Is Lost stocks its 105 minutes with enough seafaring challenges and adventure to keep mainstream audiences fascinated, fraught and rooting for the person identified in the closing credits as 'Our Man.' Yet it is also an arguably unique exercise in storytelling: both a work of cinematic innovation and an exhilarating demonstration of the ancient maxim that action is character." - Time
"The physical details that carry the story and make it suspenseful and absorbing are also vessels of specific meaning, and together they add up to a fable about the soul of man under global capitalism." - N.Y. Times
"Redford is marvelous in the role (and, by the way, magically fit for a 77-year-old) and a perfect choice. Few other actors are quite as good as portraying thinking on screen, or giving it as many shadings - dawning comprehension, sudden inspiration, nagging conflict. Redford can do each in a glance." - New Jersey Star-Ledger
"He never mutters to himself, issues casual expletives when things go wrong, rages at God or curses his fate. But when he finally explodes with one word, it’s a doozy. What happens in the end is never tipped, remaining in question until the final moment." - The Hollywood Reporter
"Chandor doesn't go for any of the easy outs with the film, cutting away to someone waiting on the land like friends or family, and he doesn't use flashbacks to break things up. Instead, the film just traces the slow and crushing process by which Redford finds himself surrendering hope." - HitFix
For a rundown on other films opening this weekend, check out:
Which do you think sound the best? Which will you see?