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Movie Review - ‘All Is Lost’ steers Redford into Oscar contention

Just you and Robert Redford. On a boat. With no one around for miles.

Watching “All Is Lost” is like living out the fantasy pretty much every heterosexual woman has had at some point during the past five decades.

An unnamed yachtsman (Redford) wakes to find a hole in his 39-foot boat after a collision with a shipping container.

Water is up to his thighs. The navigation and communication systems are ruined. And he’s quite literally in the middle of nowhere. Things only go downhill from there.

Utterly alone on a damaged vessel, forced to rely on his wits to survive while burning through the rations that are keeping him alive, “All Is Lost” is essentially an Earth-bound “Gravity” with Redford in the Sandra Bullock role. There’s even a cameo from a Maersk container ship a la “Captain Phillips.”

Unlike those two, though, “All Is Lost” is a decidedly minimalist affair. Redford makes up the entire cast. Aside from a brief voice-over in the beginning, he utters roughly 45 words. And all but one, a well-timed expletive, are part of distress calls.

Still, what he does for the rest of his wall-to-wall screen time has him in the mix for his first Oscar nomination as an actor since 1973’s “The Sting.”

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Christopher Lawrence reviews movies for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Contact him at clawrence@

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