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The 2013 Cannes Review Report: 'All is Lost'

Photo of Steve Greene By Steve Greene | Criticwire May 22, 2013 at 1:29PM

Minimal dialogue and an even smaller cast list isn't stopping critics from praising director J.C. Chandor and star Robert Redford as some of the best work of Cannes 2013 so far.
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The Cannes Review Report rounds up each day's notable premieres, along with a sampling of their reviews and tweets from the south of France. Below is a collection of reactions to "All is Lost," the new film from "Margin Call" director J.C. Chandor.

"All is Lost"
Category: Out of Competition
Director: J.C. Chandor
Starring: Robert Redford
Synopsis: "Deep into a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, an unnamed man wakes to find his 39-foot yacht taking on water after a collision with a shipping container left floating on the high seas. With his navigation equipment and radio disabled, the man sails unknowingly into the path of a violent storm. Despite his success in patching the breached hull, his mariner’s intuition and a strength that belies his age, the man barely survives the tempest. 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."

Reviews:

Justin ChangVariety:

"'Margin Call' showed impressive formal control on Chandor’s part, and despite the looseness and immediacy of the handheld camerawork here, his direction feels polished and assured in every respect."

Gregory EllwoodHitFix:

"Disappointingly, while he creates one realistic peril after another, Chandor's screenplay does not give Redford much of a character to play with."

Simon GallagherWhat Culture:

"The film is a grim and rather relentless analogy for the slow, inevitable march towards the grave."

Tim GriersonScreen Daily:

"Among its other attributes, 'All Is Lost' is a fascinating attempt to eschew the conventions of the battle-for-survival genre."

Eric Kohn, Indiewire:

"An impressively realized work of minimalist storytelling that foregrounds Redford's physicality more than any other role in his celebrated career."

Geoffrey MacnabThe Independent:

"It’s to Chandor’s credit that he contrives an ending that is both graceful and dramatic without lapsing into melodramatics."

Todd McCarthyHollywood Reporter:

"Redford, who can’t avoid exuding charisma, plays this role with utter naturalism and lack of histrionics or self-regard."

Andrew PulverThe Guardian:

"Chandor resolutely avoids stage tricks…that might, in less rigorous films, have been deployed to supply backstory or facilitate emotional empathy."

Tweets:

Ryland AldrichTwitch:

"Chandor's Margin Call follow-up ALL IS LOST answers the question 'Do we rly need another lost at sea film?' With 'Meh, not really.'"

Alex BillingtonFirst Showing:

"All is Lost - A stunning work of art. Grueling, thrilling, meticulous, moving. Redford is extraordinary, filmmaking is remarkable."

Robbie CollinThe Telegraph:

"All Is Lost, JC Chandor's follow-up to Margin Call, adds up beautifully: Robert Redford+sinking yacht=elemental survival drama."

Kenji FujishimaInReview Online:

"ALL IS LOST (2013, Chandor): a one-man survival-at-sea tale. Maybe elemental to a fault, but Robert Redford is tremendous."

Jordan HoffmanFilm.com:

"There's no denying star power. While the filmmaking is splendid, Redford makes ALL IS LOST. This ranks among his career highlights."

Jake HowellMovie City News:

"Joining the choir for ALL IS LOST. Robert Redford joins Oscar Isaac in the coming Best Actor race a few months from now."

Matt MuellerThompson on Hollywood:

"Robert Redford is pretty darn great in All Is Lost. Hardly says a word but his solitary fight for survival is emblematic & iconic."

Matt PatchesHollywood.com:

"Alex Ebert of Magnetic Zeroes provided the tremendous score to All Is Lost. Was like a musical elegy, both epic & soft."

Craig SkinnerHeyUGuys:

"ALL IS LOST (B+) Astonishing, expertly crafted story of one man alone, trying to survive. A very emotional journey worth taking."

Steven ZeitchikLos Angeles Times:

"Redford's All Is Lost is that rare, affecting film creature: minimal storytelling with maximal metaphor."

This article is related to: Cannes Review Report, J.C. Chandor


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