All Is Lost - 8 stars out of 10
“All Is Lost” is surreal. The film has one character, less than 10 lines of dialogue, and one of the most complex villains imaginable: nature. The 54 years of Robert Redford’s acting career culminate in this display of raw acting skill through facial expressions and body language. At the age of 76, Redford gives a tutorial on great acting while performing many of his own physically demanding water stunts. In the grand scheme of cinema, this is the performance that will define Redford’s career. There is nothing flashy about his acting; instead, his eyes show a subtle transformation from sadness to determination to fear to resignation. I am shocked that he did not receive an Oscar nomination for this performance, not only because it is so impressive but also because the Academy (who has only nominated him once in an acting category) should realize that this is his final shot at an Oscar. Leonardo DiCaprio (whose performance in “The Wolf of Wall Street” isn’t even in the Top 10 of his career) should have voluntarily given up his nomination so that it could properly be awarded to Redford. The film’s only shortcoming is the timing of its release. A year after the incredible oceanic cinematography of “Life of Pi” and the same year as Sandra Bullock’s hopeless, isolated acting in “Gravity,” the wow factor is diminished because we have already experienced it. Still, this 31-page script is more than an outline of the ways that this unnamed character might try to troubleshoot his hopeless situation. It stirs our emotions and forces us to empathize with the character, questioning whether we would survive if put into his position. “All Is Lost” moves slowly because of its concept, but Redford’s emotional moments drive the film to its masterful ending whose final images will leave you motionless.