The surprise hit of Cannes? Robert Redford is so terrific in a “silent” film here that he could easily win the Best Actor award. “All Is Lost” is directed by JC Chandor. There is no dialogue. Redford plays a man who’s been sailing a modest sailboat through what we learn is the Indian Ocean. When the film begins he awakens to find he’s drifted into no man’s land, and his boat has a gaping hole. Water is pouring in.
What takes place next may sound not so interesting. But the film is eloquent, poetic and full of action. The action– plus the stunts, all done by Redford, 76– makes “All Is Lost’ far from boring. It might be the most exciting action film of the year.
I fell in love with this movie this morning as did most reviewers. From the start you know it’s good– and that serious, tragic things are happening to the man played by Redford. He has no name. You just know that he’s a proficient sailor in very good shape, athletic, and quick to come up with solutions. He isn’t “McGyver” though. This is a story of man against relentless nature.
What is his backstory? My guess is that our Man lost his wife, retired and his named his boat after his Virginia Jean. He’s a loner. He may have been a fireman or a cop. He isn’t wealthy. I think he sold his house and bought this boat, but he’s been sailing all his life.
Chandor does a masterful job putting one obstacle after another in front of Redford. I’m sure there’s a lot of skillful editing. But actor and director work together to make magic. It’s a total surpise. For weeks everyone thought this would be “Cast Away” without Wilson the soccer ball. Instead, it’s a meditation and an instruction in living. Redford is superb, and is headed possibly to a Best Actor nomination (if not win) from many awards groups including the Academy. Chandor deserves many kudos.
UPDATE: The movie and Redford got enormous cheers and lots of applause. a real 10 minute standing ovation in the Palais last night. Leonardo DiCaprio’s mother, sitting behind me, loved it. The party afterward, on a moored for rent boat in the marina, was kind of a bust– no food and the usual rude publicists. But that didn’t detract from the movie’s success.