J.C. Chandor‘s All Is Lost has completely blown everyone away at the Cannes Film Festival. (I didn’t see it until this evening.) It’s a knockout –a riveting piece of pure dialogue-free cinema, a terrific survival-on-the-high-seas tale and major acting triumph for Robert Redford, who hasn’t been this good since…what, Brubaker? All The President’s Men? A long time.
Robert Redford during post-screening yacht party in Cannes — Wednesday, 5.22, 9:55 pm.
Two years after Margin Call, director-writer J.C. Chandor has achieved the exact opposite of a sophomore slump.
Has there ever been a mostly-dialogue-free commercial film that has worked so successfully since the advent of sound in 1927? What a landmark this film is. And every minute is absorbing. It has you by the head and the throat, and it never lets up. And it ends so beautifully and succinctly.
The question on everyone’s mind tonight was “why wasn’t this film chosen to play in competition?” If it had been All Is Lost would be a clear contender for the Palme d’Or and Redford would certainly be neck-and-neck with Behind The Candelabra‘s Michael Douglas and Inside Llewyn Davis‘s Oscar Isaac for Best Actor, and perhaps on the verge of edging them out.
I was told during tonight’s after-party that the festival honchos didn’t want All Is Lost in competition because it was “too commercial” What? Nothing about All Is Lost says “overtly commercial” It may turn out to be a hit and good for Chandor, Redford and Lionsgate if that happens, but it’s going to be a bit of a struggle to get Joe and Jane Popcorn to pay to see an almost entirely talk-free movie about an older guy struggling to stay alive on the open seas. But I’m telling you straight and true it’s one of the most powerful, absorbing, original-feeling survivalist dramas ever made.
In this alone-at-sea aspect, it’s five times better than The Old Man and the Sea and far more interesting that Life of Pi.
All Is Lost director-writer J.C. Chandor, publicist David Pollick.
All Is Lost producer Neal Dodson, Redford.