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All Is Lost (Blu-ray Review)

All Is Lost - www.whysoblu.comAcademy Award winner Robert Redford stars in ALL IS LOST, an open-water thriller about one man’s battle for survival against the elements after his sailboat is destroyed at sea. Using only a sextant and nautical maps to chart his progress, he is forced to rely on ocean currents to carry him into a shipping lane in hopes of hailing a passing vessel. But with the sun unrelenting, sharks circling and his meager supplies dwindling, the ever-resourceful sailor soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face.

All Is Lost - www.whysoblu.com

Film 

All Is Lost is the latest film starring Robert Redford and as written and directed by J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) and is the story of a man on a boat stranded out at sea. This man has no name, so for all intents and purposes we will call him our man from here on out. Our man is in a bit of a pickle as he’s thousands of miles away from the nearest shore and is taking on water. Our man has to use his experience and resourcefulness to stay alive through this mess. It also doesn’t help much that he doesn’t just have to worry about taking on water. Mother nature’s fury is upon him as are his limited supplies and the many dangers of the deep that surround him and his vessel.

All Is Lost is as simples as can be in terms of story. Robert Redford plays an anonymous character – we know nothing about his background. We do know that he’s an experienced sailor due to his resourcefulness in staying alive and through his knowledge of navigation and contingency plans. Outside of that we know nothing else about our man. Our man doesn’t say much either. In fact, All Is Lost plays like a silent film. Redford probably had 12 lines in the entire film and 1-2 of them was probably profanity, which means he said even less than those 12.

Now just because it plays like a silent film doesn’t mean it is one. There is a musical score and an amazing soundtrack that accompanies All Is Lost. The level of depth and realism in this environment we are thrown in is anything but tame and silent. We’re in every frame of the film along with our man and we will see and feel everything our man is seeing and feeling. I remember texting fellow WSB writer Brian White about the film and how it made go through a wide array of emotions and whatnot. This is true, because not only is All Is Lost an exciting film it’s a very bleak one, as well. There were times where I was fidgeting and yelling at the television due to our man having several chances of being saved and me thinking that he did not do everything in his power to get saved. After the frustration wore down a bit I thought that since I’ve never been in a situation like this how would I know how to react to it? I wouldn’t.

Redford is 77 years old – and our man – the way he’s being portrayed has his faults and being drained of energy and moral don’t help his cause, so maybe the reason why I felt frustrated was due to me being younger and not knowing the full extent of what our man was going through. Maybe this is the testament of how powerful the film is that it’s making me go through all of this myself. As I read what I just wrote I find it funny that such a self contained and relatively simple and low budgeted film had this much of an effect on me.

We have one actor, one setting, but the scope of the picture is HUGE! What I also enjoyed and didn’t know until after I watched the supplements and listened to the director’s commentary was that there was a separate underwater unit that was tasked with filming in the ocean and gathering footage from nature. We do get scenes of marine life, sharks, barracudas, pilot fish, etc., and they’re all REAL! The way they were blended into All Is Lost was flawless.

I will say that if Robert Redford ended up quitting the world of acting today he will have gone out on top with such a performance. I lament that All Is Lost never got a wide release theatrically, but now that many groups and people have recognized it, hope that it gets a second life on the Blu-ray format. Run, walk, swim, and get yourself a copy of All Is Lost, because you’ll be blown away by the simplicity of its complexity.

All Is Lost - www.whysoblu.com

Video 

All Is Lost is presented in 1080p, 2.40:1 widescreen. This video presentation looks great for the most part. Redford looks as healthy as can be for a man in his late 70’s but as the days go by he starts to physically deteriorate and the transfer highlights this. He goes from having a clean complexion to being dehydrated with the skin on his hands and feet turning slightly purplish and cracked. The ever-changing patterns look neat and realistic but I couldn’t help noticing the digital push in some of the environments. It’s as if haze was added in some scenes, which give it a fake looking “overcast” look. I wasn’t a fan of that. The ocean, when it’s blue, is fantastic to look at, as are some of the underwater photography and various sea life. The Blu-ray really captured the spirit of the sea with this transfer.

All Is Lost - www.whysoblu.com

Audio 

All Is Lost is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1. The film may feature just one actor who barely says a word throughout the entire flick, so there’s really no point in describing how the dialogue sounds, because Redford has only a dozen lines or so. The main attraction and reason why the Blu-ray gets a reference rating is due to the incredible sound wizards and the way made our man’s plight into a monster. Waves crash onto his boat and on him pummeling away without mercy. Even subtleties in the directional landscape sounds great. Our Man may throw something off screen and your ear will trace the item and will feel as if it went right over your head. Not to mention it’s a very aggressive soundtrack in general. I’m reminded of the classic meme: “Damn, nature, you scary!” Crank up this Blu-ray and see for yourself how true that statement really is.

All Is Lost - www.whysoblu.com

Extras  

All Is Lost has a nice variety of in-depth (considering they run just few minutes each) featurettes that focus on the director, Robert Redford, producers, musicians, and sound designers. A very cool and informative audio commentary with writer/director J.C. Chandor is also included and worth a listen. All the interviews and featurettes are presented in HD.

  • Filmmaker Commentary
  • “Preparing for the Storm”
  • “Big Film, Small Film” Featurette
  • 3 Vignettes: “The Story,” “The Filmmaker: J.C. Chandor” and “The Actor: Robert Redford”
  • “The Sound of All Is Lost” Featurette

 

All Is Lost - www.whysoblu.com

Summary 

If Robert Redford decided to quit acting today he would have gone out on top. All Is Lost is a grueling and exciting tale of survival by any means necessary. It’s a wild ride and that will have you on the edge of your seat. The Blu-ray has killer video and stellar sound. The special features are somewhat brief but very informative. The commentary track is my favorite. If you were unlucky enough to miss it in theaters during it’s limited release in 2013 then you definitely need to get the Blu-ray. J.C. Chandor has transcended and has officially made into the big leagues. All Is Lost is a great film.

 

 

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All Is Lost - www.whysoblu.com

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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