All Is Lost: a review.

blackjenner

Super Anarchist
All Is Lost, a film starring Robert Redford, where he utters only one line on screen, is well worth seeing. Though I had seen some sailors complaining about the movie on various, I decided to see it anyway.

Why? Sailors are a curious bunch. Some have little experience, some have crossed oceans, some just happen to own boats that never really leave the marina. In that spectrum of being a sailor, there is one thing they seem to have in common. They all have an opinion be it about anchors, anchoring, dinghy selection (how to spell dinghy), what sails to use, whether to use a drouge in heavy weather, how far to travel off shore when heading south along the pacific coast; it's a continuum of surety in opinions sometime informed and sometimes not.

Translated, this means that ten sailors, when faced with a hypothetical situation, will argue for ten different solutions to that problem. When faced with the story of another sailor, they will frequently proclaim from on high that their solution is the only one and the other sailors solutions are borne out of ignorance. It's a combination of the fact that there is often not one "right way" to solve a problem and the propensity for sailors to engage in intellectual dick sizing.

Such is the case with the sailor (we never know his name in the movie) in All Is Lost.

There are also criticisms of the movie too, for continuity and other reasons.

Let's just leave aside the face that bashing one of the most decent and realistic sailing movies, even though it has flaws, doesn't exactly support the complaint of, "why don't we see more good sailing movies? They all suck!"

This movie does not suck.

All Is Lost gives us a pretty realistic portrayal of a sailor facing his death at sea.

Is the sailor perfect? Does he always make the right decisions? Is he equipped and practiced enough for the voyage he is currently undertaking?

That decision being; sailing alone, crossing oceans, with times when no one is on watch.

He is not perfect and neither are all his decisions.

We don't know why he is out there in a Cal 40 that looks quite worn and underequipped.

The movie starts off with a calamity that could have been wholly prevented, were someone on watch.

From there we see him quietly, sometimes grimly, solve each problem as it presents itself.

There is damage to the boat, equipment failures, tactical decisions, injuries, some plain blind luck, and rotten luck.

Then again, luck isn't something that just happens to us. It's the product of our experience, preparedness and mindset. If we are lacking in some or all of those things, we have bad luck.

The sailor has bad luck.

Sometimes he is capable and makes decisions I would make. At other times, I'm not so sure I would take his course of action. At other times, it's something I would not do. Then again, I have not been out there. Since he is in the middle of the Indian Ocean, he got there so, he's seen and done things that I have not.

The sailor's bad luck doesn't make the movie bad. It turns it into a classroom, with lessons piled upon lessons, some of them brutal and direct, some of them subtle and hidden. It will take more than one watching to get them all.

Is the movie without continuity errors? No. Is it the perfect example of a prepared and experienced offshore sailor, facing the ocean with a high level of competence, serving as a perfect example to the public of how we wish to be seen? No.

And that is not a bad thing.

One can pick at the movie. One can even pick at Redford for his perceived liberalism (yes, some have done so already but that has nothing to do with a man lost at sea).

One thing that is true is that we are watching a man at sea, one who is where most of us will never go, dealing with each turn against him with a quiet determination that most of us would be lucky to demonstrate were we in his situation.

And, Robert Redford is perfect in this role.

And the lessons...the lessons. That is why it's worth watching.

 
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born2sail

Super Anarchist
We saw the movie. For the most part, we can't argue with the review. The movie would have been made even better if somebody with serious sailing experience could have been on hand to share their expertise with the makers of the movie. That said, the movie is well worth seeing and will be the cause for many lively discussion here and around the table at the Y.C. And that is not a bad thing by a longshot.

 

Bob Perry

Super Anarchist
31,942
1,332
Thanks for the review Donn.

So I take it there are no naked women in it?

I'll review the latest ZATOICHI next week. Loved the en masse Japanese tap dancing scene.

 
Black, Thanks for the thoughtful and well written review. I'll have to get out to see that when it get to town. It isn't here yet, I just checked.

Captain Phillips is still playing here, anyone see that yet?

 
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It's not a movie about sailing, so criticism at that level misses the point. It's an allegory, sailing as a metaphor for life. We travel through life solo, make good decisions, make bad decisions, have good luck, have bad luck, and die.

Step back and forget about sailing.

 
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blackjenner

Super Anarchist
It's not a movie about sailing, so criticism at that level misses the point. It's an allegory, sailing as an metaphor for life. We travel through life solo, make good decisions, make bad decisions, have good luck, have bad luck, and die.

Step back and forget about sailing.
That's not a bad take on it.

 
Black, Thanks for the thoughtful and well written review. I'll have to get out to see that when it get to town. It isn't here yet, I just checked.

Captain Phillips is still playing here, anyone see that yet?
I watched Captain Phillips last night. It moves fast through the entire show. I think there was some liberties taken with the story, but it was well worth the time to watch it.

All Is Lost has not arrived here yet. I plan on seeing it too when it gets here. Thanks for the review.

 
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Black, Thanks for the thoughtful and well written review. I'll have to get out to see that when it get to town. It isn't here yet, I just checked.

Captain Phillips is still playing here, anyone see that yet?
I watched Captain Phillips last night. It moves fast through the entire show. I think there was some liberties taken with the story, but it was well worth the time to watch it.

All Is Lost has not arrived here yet. I plan on seeing it too when it gets here. Thanks for the review.
Thanks WR, the folks around here I know who that have seen Captain Phillips said it was good.

 

Wash

Super Anarchist
1,348
0
Long Beach, CA
I probably would have taken the the time to see it, but Redford using his position in life most recently calling out folks that he does not agree with racists, means no $ from me for his work.

 
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Jim in Halifax

Super Anarchist
1,652
724
Nova Scotia
I probably would have taken the the time to see it, but Redford using his position in life most recently calling out folks that he does not agree with racists, means no $ from me for his work.

I'm with Wash. He won't get a dime from me.
I had to google and read the article in USA Today to see what all the Redford fuss was about...and I still don't. But then, I'm Canadian.

In any case, I doubt I will see the film unless it comes round to Netflix.

 

MidPack

Super Anarchist
3,645
85
undecided
I probably would have taken the the time to see it, but Redford using his position in life most recently calling out folks that he does not agree with racists, means no $ from me for his work.
I'm a conservative, but when did Redford categorically 'call out folks he did not agree with racists?' This reference doesn't support the view IMO http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2013/10/16/obama-robert-redford-cnn-interview-racism/2993485/

I haven't seen the movie yet, though I am sure I will paid or not. But from the reviews and interviews I've seen, this post makes the central point. Sailing is not the point, it's "a metaphor for life."

It's not a movie about sailing, so criticism at that level misses the point. It's an allegory, sailing as a metaphor for life. We travel through life solo, make good decisions, make bad decisions, have good luck, have bad luck, and die.

Step back and forget about sailing.
 
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jtsailjt

Member
I probably would have taken the the time to see it, but Redford using his position in life most recently calling out folks that he does not agree with racists, means no $ from me for his work.
I like the way you think and have also noted the absurdity of certain high visibility people in Hollywood and in politics complaining about the lack of civility from those they disagree with, while simultaneously hinting or even outright stating that these same people must be racists, which to me is just about the most un-civil name you could call someone. The problem is that if I boycotted all of the silly gooses in Hollywood in Washington who very routinely engage in and support such behavior, the list of movies that I could see would dwindle to almost none, and if I included news outlets that attempt to further that stereotype, I would only get one side of every issue. So, while I just don't take anyone seriously who makes such hateful statements about someone or a group of people, I also don't boycott them. To do so would be to both limit my own entertainment and news options, and give them more credibility than they deserve. After all, why should I care in the least what ANY person whose area of expertise is singing or dancing or pretending to be someone else thinks about any issue outside of what they have become expert in? If someone stuck a microphone in the face of a noted economist and and instead of asking about his area of expertise, was willing to pretend that his thoughts on dance steps or acting talent were any more valid than the average man on the street, we'd all see it as absurd and a waste of time. But for some reason, actors and other entertainers seem to feel qualified to hold forth on subjects they know almost nothing about and much of the press gives them way more credibility than they deserve. It's a very odd phenomenon but not limited to Redford.

 

MR.CLEAN

Moderator
46,271
4,411
Not here
If you don't think Redford was accurate when he said racism lies underneath a great deal of the fervent hatred of Obama's policies, you're not paying attention to how this country works.

Good movie though.

 

Bob Perry

Super Anarchist
31,942
1,332
That's just your opinion Alan and way too general. You cannot popssibly know that. Silly conjecture in my opinion.

 

frede

Member
150
1
After all, why should I care in the least what ANY person whose area of expertise is singing or dancing or pretending to be someone else thinks about any issue outside of what they have become expert in? If someone stuck a microphone in the face of a noted economist and and instead of asking about his area of expertise, was willing to pretend that his thoughts on dance steps or acting talent were any more valid than the average man on the street, we'd all see it as absurd and a waste of time.
That's why I think only political scientists should be allowed to vote.

 




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