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New York Film Critics Winner Redford Candidly Talks Career and Stunning 'All is Lost' (UPDATE)

by Anne Thompson
December 3, 2013 3:26 PM
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Robert Redford and Ralph Fiennes at Telluride
Vivien Killilea / Getty Images / August 29, 2013 Robert Redford and Ralph Fiennes at Telluride

Following his triumph at Cannes with "All is Lost," Robert Redford has now landed a Best Actor win from the New York Film Critics Circle. He is on his way to an expected Oscar nomination. 

While Redford does not like doing the usual dog-and-pony shows demanded of Oscar contenders, last fall he did attend two festivals. The Telluride Film Festival gave him a tribute, and he participated in a Q & A at the New York Film Festival (where he arrived at the press conference characteristically late). Why the relatively high profile? This year, after years of directing such films as "The Company We Keep," the star is in the running for acting awards. 

"Margin Call" writer-director J.C. Chandor managed to convince Redford to perform in "All is Lost," in the virtually silent solo role of an expert sailor in big trouble alone on the Indian Ocean. It's the first time a Sundance director has asked the head of the Utah Institute and Festival to star in a film, Redford said at his Telluride Tribute. Redford said, "Sure, let's do it." He got a kick out of returning to his acting roots, he said.

No more boats.
No more boats.

The star carries the screen--you believe that he is a capable, canny, confident sailor who resourcefully pits himself against everything that the sea and nature throw at him. In one shot as he prepares to confront a major storm there's a glimpse of that old Sundance Kid smile as he faces a worthy adversary. 

Redford liked "All is Lost" because "it is existential," he said. "I've always been interested, like 'Jeremiah Johnson,' in people who go through a terrible ordeal...all there is to do is to keep going...that's what this is about."

He didn't mind having no dialogue. "You give yourself over to the character," he said."You have to live through these tests. In a real way I wanted to know at this point in my life what I was able to physically do. I hadn't lost myself in a character in a was tough." 

Chandor later said that 90% of the film was done by Redford himself--and that "no humans were harmed while making the film." Stunt men filled in on some key shots, but not many. 


  • Greg Hyatt | February 23, 2014 7:00 PMReply

    Totally unbelievable if you have any boating experience at all. What a waste of Redford's talent. No life jackets. No locator beacon in the raft. No locator beacon, or PLB, on the main sailboat. No Spot GPS locator. All boat radios are water proof, some even float. Using the sea anchor for his container separation, when it is made to just sit below the surface for heaving to. Trying to set the storm jib sail into a large storm after the storm was already on him, when he should of been hove to with the good side of the hull positioned with the sea anchor to that side. Not stuffing anything into the hull immediately, seat cushions, life jackets. Ramming the container that was just asking for another hull breach, almost suicidal. Who wrote this never consulted any sailor I know that knows anything about sailing. Who would go offshore Blue Water Sailing with no life jacket, no solar panels or wind generators, no floating flash lights or any waterproof flash light. Not scratching up the structurally sound hull area around the hole for his repair to hook into for soundness. The movie was really an insult to any boaters and unbelievable script. No handle for is only bilge pump. Also no bilge water alarm, or automatic pump also unbelievable for any Boater thinking about Blue Water Sailing. The whole moving was what not to as a boater movie to me. Poor script made the old man and the sea attempt story line a big failure to me.

  • June Hayes | September 25, 2013 8:26 PMReply

    I also love An Unfinished Life, which I bought, after watching it On Demand about a dozen times. Mr. Redford is ageless, timeless and one of the most talented souls on the planet. Please live a long and happy life! xo

  • Tanner | August 31, 2013 7:01 PMReply

    All the President's Men is 76 though.

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