One of my favorite things to watch is other people dealing with problems. They can be out of this world science-fiction problems or they can be terrestrial problems and All is Lost is more of the latter. Robert Redford plays an unnamed (“Our Man” in the credits) sailor on a solo sailing voyage. Unfortunately everything goes wrong.
The hull gets a big hole.
Our Man’s patch job kinda works?
He hits his head.
The supplies are running low.
…and on and on.
This is a beautiful struggle and there isn’t much else to say. Redford does a terrific job in the role, and it is truly painful to watch him struggle to get out of the situation.
Perhaps then the question is: Who gets to sail? Our Man’s boat isn’t the fanciest ship, but maintenance is clearly expensive, as are other fees, and Redford’s character could easily be a millionaire on his little voyage out of his element, but he clearly seems to know what he is doing.
I’ll never be rich enough to sail like this, unless some stroke of luck changes things, and I’m not sure I’d want to. So maybe this is a kind of voyage-fiction. It is alien to imagine myself on a boat at sea.
If I had to compare All Is Lost, it’d be to The Martian, but without anyone backing the protagonist up, it’s almost more dangerous to be on the open ocean than on Mars.
In that we can thank Redford for pretending to go out to the open sea so we don’t, and I sure wouldn’t want to after watching his struggles.