All Is Lost
is a 2013 survival drama film written and directed by J.
C. Chandor. The film stars
as a man lost at sea.[A]
Redford is the only cast member, and the film has very few spoken
All Is Lost
is Chandor's second feature film, following his
2011 debut Margin Call. It screened out of competition at the 2013
Cannes Film Festival.
Among many honors, the film was nominated for Academy Award for Best
Sound Editing (
and Richard Hymns) and won the Golden
Globe Award for Best Original Score (Alex Ebert). Redford was
nominated for his own Golden Globe and won the New York Film Critics
Circle Award for Best Actor.
5.1 Top ten lists
7 See also
10 External links
In the Indian Ocean, a man wakes to find water flooding his boat. He
has collided with a wayward shipping container, ripping a hole in the
hull. He uses a sea anchor to dislodge the container, then changes
course to tilt the boat away from the hole. He patches the hole and
uses the manual bilge pump to remove the water from the cabin.
The boat’s navigational and communications systems have been damaged
by saltwater intrusion. The man tries to repair the marine radio and
connects it to one of the boat's batteries. When he climbs the mast to
repair an antenna lead, he sees an oncoming tropical storm. When the
storm arrives, he runs before the wind. He intends to bring the boat
into a hove-to position, but as he crawls to the bow to hoist the
storm jib, he is thrown overboard and regains the deck after a
struggle. The boat capsizes, turtles after a further 180-degree roll
and is dis-masted, and most of the equipment is destroyed. With the
boat badly sinking, the man abandons ship in an inflatable life raft,
salvaging whatever he can to survive.
As the man learns to operate a sextant, he discovers he is being
pulled towards a major shipping lane by ocean currents. He survives
another storm but his supplies dwindle, and he learns too late that
his drinking water has been contaminated with sea water. He improvises
a solar still from his water container and a plastic bag to produce
The man is passed by two container ships, which do not see him,
despite his use of signaling flares. He drifts out of the shipping
lane with no food or water. On the eighth day, he writes a letter,
puts it in a jar, and throws it in the ocean as a message in a bottle.
Later that night, he sees a light in the distance. He tears pages from
his journal along with charts to create a signal fire. The fire grows
out of control and consumes his raft. He falls into the water and
allows himself to sink. Underwater, he sees the hull of a boat with a
search light approaching his burning raft. He swims towards the
surface to grasp an outstretched hand.
Robert Redford as Our Man, an unnamed boat captain
All Is Lost was written and directed by J. C. Chandor, his second
feature film, following 2011's Margin Call. During his time commuting
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island to New York City, Chandor developed the
idea for All Is Lost. After meeting
Robert Redford at the 2011
Sundance Film Festival where Margin Call premiered, Chandor asked the
veteran actor to be in the film. On February 9, 2012, Redford's
casting was confirmed for
All Is Lost as its only cast member. In
addition to there being only one actor in the film, Redford also
stated that the film has no dialogue, although there are a few spoken
lines. For these reasons, the shooting script was only 31 pages
Principal photography began in mid-2012 at Baja Studios in Rosarito
Beach in Mexico. Baja Studios was originally built for the 1997 film
Titanic. Filming took place for two months in the location's water
tank. In addition the crew spent "two or three days" filming in
the actual ocean. Chandor would later remark that completing the
film was "essentially a jigsaw puzzle" and that the crew spent
less time on the actual ocean than the film would have viewers
believe. At a press conference after the film's screening at
Cannes 2013, Redford revealed that his ear was damaged during the
The film score to
All Is Lost is composed by Edward Sharpe and the
Magnetic Zeros’ frontman Alex Ebert, who signed on to the film in
November 2012. Speaking of the experience of working on the film,
Ebert said, "This project was a dream—an open space to play in but
also space to listen to the elements—wind, water, rain, sun, are the
story's other characters to me. I knew I had quite a task ahead of me:
to at once allow the elements to sing and to give Redford a voice with
which to, once in a while, respond." The "extra features" of the
Blu-ray Disc explicate on the unique development of the sound track,
music, script and other production considerations.
A soundtrack album featuring ten original compositions and one new
song all written, composed, and produced by Ebert was released on
October 1, 2013 by Community Music. On September 12, 2013, the
song "Amen" from the soundtrack was made available for streaming.
All Is Lost screened out of competition at the 2013 Cannes Film
Festival on May 22. The film was distributed theatrically by
Lionsgate and by
Roadside Attractions in the United States.
FilmNation Entertainment handled foreign sales for the film. In
February 2012, Universal Pictures purchased distribution of the film
in 19 international territories (U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Hong
Kong, South Korea, Russia, Portugal and Australia). Other deals were
made with HGC in China, Square One in Germany, Sun Distribution in
Latin America and
Pony Canyon in Japan. It began a limited release
in the United States on October 18, 2013.
Film review aggregator
Rotten Tomatoes reports that 94% of critics
gave the film a positive review based on 219 reviews; the average
score is 8/10. The site's consensus states: "Anchored by another
tremendous performance in a career full of them,
All Is Lost offers a
moving, eminently worthwhile testament to Robert Redford's ability to
hold the screen." On
Metacritic the film has a score of 87 based
on 45 reviews, considered to be "universal acclaim".
After the screening of the film at the Cannes Film Festival, Redford
received a standing ovation. Writing for The Independent, Geoffrey
Macnab said the film was "utterly compelling viewing". Andrew
Pulver, writing for The Guardian, said that "Redford delivers a tour
de force performance: holding the screen effortlessly with no acting
support whatsoever." Justin Chang of Variety said of Redford's
performance that he "holds the viewer’s attention merely by wincing,
scowling, troubleshooting and yelling the occasional expletive".
Robbie Collin of The Telegraph said, "The film's scope is limited, but
as far as it goes,
All Is Lost is very good indeed: a neat idea, very
Conveying Peter Bradshaw's review,
The Guardian said, "Redford's
near-mute performance as a mysterious old man of the sea adrift and
utterly alone makes for a bold, gripping thriller." Having spotted a
possible metaphor, Bradshaw concludes: "What a strikingly bold and
thoughtful film." Alan Scherstuhl of
The Village Voice
The Village Voice writes that
the film is "a genuine nail-biter, scrupulously made and fully
involving, elemental in its simplicity." David Morgan of
gave the film a positive review, stating, "Four decades ago Redford
demonstrated a similar capacity for survival skills as the mountain
man Jeremiah Johnson. Today, at age 77, without a supporting cast and
performing virtually all of his water stunts himself, Redford proves
he is still up to the task, shining in what is an extremely physical
but also an intellectually demanding role."
However, the film has been criticized in the sailing world for being
unrealistic, in particular for the lack of certain safety equipment
deemed standard for sailboats navigating the open ocean such as an
EPIRB, and other bad decisions of the main character. An
exception to this criticism is English Yachting Monthly, for which
Dick Durham claimed: "Certainly the film is authentic and grippingly
realistic." Director Chandor himself, who says he went sailing
with his parents when young and later a few times as an adult, stated
in an interview with German sailing magazine Segeln that everything
that happened in the film could have happened in reality. His only
reservations were the probability of crossing the Indian Ocean
single-handed and of not evading the storm with modern technology and
Top ten lists
All Is Lost was listed on many critics' top ten lists.
2nd – Robert Horton, Seattle Weekly
3rd – Genevieve Koski, The Dissolve
3rd – Steve Davis, Austin Chronicle
3rd – Ty Burr, Boston Globe
3rd – Mark Savlov, Austin Chronicle
4th – Lou Lumenick, New York Post
5th – Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
5th – Mark Mohan, The Oregonian
5th – Alonso Duralde, TheWrap
5th – Brian Miller, Seattle Weekly
6th – Stephen Schaefer, Boston Herald
6th – Rex Reed, New York Observer
6th – Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
6th – Mike D'Angelo, The A.V. Club
6th – Noel Murray, The Dissolve
6th – Barbara Vancheri, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
6th – Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
6th – A.O. Scott, The New York Times
7th – David Edelstein, Vulture
7th – Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter
7th – Keith Phipps, The Dissolve
7th – Sasha Stone, Awards Daily
7th – Christopher Orr, The Atlantic
7th – Kristopher Tapley, HitFix
8th – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
9th – Lisa Schwarzbaum, BBC
9th – Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
9th – Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
Top 10 (listed alphabetically, not ranked) – David Denby, The
Top 10 (listed alphabetically, not ranked) – James Verniere,
Top 10 (listed alphabetically, not ranked) – Claudia Puig, USA
Top 10 (listed alphabetically, not ranked) – Stephen Whitty,
Top 10 (listed alphabetically, not ranked) – Steven Rea,
Recipients and nominees
AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Awards
Judge's Award for Extraordinary Merit
All is Lost
86th Academy Awards
Best Sound Editing
Steve Boeddeker, Richard Hymns
Chicago Film Critics Association
Critics' Choice Movie Awards
Detroit Film Critics Society
2013 Deauville American Film Festival
Prix du Jury (Jury
J. C. Chandor
71st Golden Globe Awards
Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Best Original Score
Independent Spirit Awards
Neal Dodson, Anna Gerb, J. C. Chandor
J. C. Chandor
Best Male Lead
Frank G. DeMarco
Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards
Best Sound Editing: Sound Effects & Foley in a Feature Film
Richard Hymns, Steve Boeddeker
New York Film Critics Circle
Phoenix Film Critics Society
Best Actor in a Leading Role
San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Best Motion Picture
Neal Dodson, Anna Gerb, J. C. Chandor
Best Actor – Motion Picture
Best Sound (Editing and Mixing)
Brandon Proctor, Richard Hymns, Steve Boeddeker
Best Visual Effects
Brendon O'Dell, Collin Davies, Robert Munroe
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association
Survival film, an article about the film genre, with a list of related
The Old Man and the Sea
^ Redford is credited as "Our Man", but the character is not named in
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All Is Lost on IMDb
All Is Lost at Box Office Mojo
All Is Lost at Rotten Tomatoes
All Is Lost at Metacritic
All Is Lost at AllMovie
Films directed by J. C. Chandor
Margin Call (2011)
All Is Lost (2013)
A Most Violent Year (2014)