"Everything is as it should be."

                                                                                  - Benjamin Purcell Morris



© all material on this website is written by Michael McCaffrey, is copyrighted, and may not be republished without consent

All is Lost: A Review


When I first saw the trailer for "All is Lost", the 'lost-at-sea' film directed by J.C. Chandor and starring Robert Redford, I was not the least bit interested in seeing it. The trailer made me think the film was one of those hollywood movies that tries to play itself off as being an 'independent' or 'artistic' film, but is really just another hollywood shlock fest without the least bit of subtly or artistry. Upon seeing the film, I now realize how fantasticality wrong I was in my pre-judgement.

"All is Lost" is a really remarkable film. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It stars Robert Redford, and only Robert Redford. He is by himself the entire film, and he barely says a word. Redford is one of the great under appreciated actors of his time, and here he gives what may be the greatest performance of his career.

The film is an existential meditation on aging, death, love, fear, God, nature, capitalism, humanity, Hollywood and Robert Redford's own life and career. It is beautifully photographed and Redford's performance is masterful.

To be clear, this is not a film for everyone. It isn't a typical hollywood film. My best friend, the inimitable Chaz J. Chazzington, absolutely hated the film, saying it lacked emotion. I had the opposite reaction. To me it is the film that "Gravity" should have been. It is Robert Redford facing the vast darkness of the abyss, by himself, which is how we all must face our own annihilation. Cold, scared and alone.  Redford's complex stoicism may not be enough emotion for everyone, but keep in mind, it's not the emotions shown in a film that count, it's the emotions a film conjures in the viewer that really matter. And "All is Lost" brought up deep emotions within me, such as fear of my own impending death, of my own annihilation, of my own regrets in life, of all the joys and sorrows I have experienced in this life, and how I will miss it when it ends no matter what comes after it. 

In short, "All is Lost" makes us look at all the uncomfortable things we would prefer to ignore. Life, death and the inevitability of our destruction at the hands of the infinite abyss that we prefer to ignore rather than acknowledge, and that bears down upon us every moment of every day. The abyss is the relentless Shark calmly hunting us in his frigid sea, it is the Wolf coolly trotting after us in his forest, waiting for us to tire, it is the Tiger silently stalking us through his jungle, waiting for the precise moment to pounce. These are the feelings that we as humans try to not think about or feel. We do everything we can to avoid contemplating our own inevitable demise. "All is Lost" skillfully nudges us to think about the unthinkable and the uncomfortable. I found it to be a fantastic film and well worth your time.