's stranded-at-sea one-man All Is Lost debuted at Cannes to extremely favorable reviews. According to Deadline's Pete Hammond, the man-against-nature drama received a 9-minute standing ovation. Does this mean that he will finally get the Oscar he deserves?
Certainly, as Hammond points out, it's a bit strange that the film wasn't put into competition if it was that good. The venerable actor is 76 years-old and not only directed himself, but took on a role that in its very physicality would have been arguably difficult for other actors of his generation to pull off now. In addition 's directorial effort is drawing many contrasting comments to his effort in Margin Call, and this isn't a bad thing in the least.
The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy said:
Redford's exceptional performance will serve as the primary commercial calling card for Lionsgate upon October release. The Old Man and the Sea certainly represents a template for this straightforward, intensely focused tale of a man battling the elements, although Chandor has stripped his drama of any extra baggage, be it allegorical, metaphorical or spiritual.
Variety's Justin Chang opines:
"All Is Lost," then, is that mainstream-movie rarity: a virtually wordless film that speaks with grave eloquence and simplicity about the human condition. Nothing here feels fancy or extraneous, least of all Redford's superb performance, in which the clearly invigorated actor (having a bit of a comeback year with this and "The Company You Keep") holds the viewer's attention merely by wincing, scowling, troubleshooting and yelling the occasional expletive. That we have no access to this man’s history or inner life merely heightens the poignancy of his situation, detailed knowledge being no prerequisite for basic empathy under such extreme circumstances.
The Guardian's Andrew Pulver glows:
On one level this pared-down strategy makes for a beautifully simple idea: we are presented with the human as animal, scrapping with the fish and sharks (occasionally seen, creepily, circling under Redford's craft). But it also makes forcefully clear the advantages of the conventions of character fleshing-out: we are never allowed inside Redford's mind, and the character remains almost entirely opaque.
That said, Redford delivers a tour de force performance: holding the screen effortlessly with no acting support whatsoever. After a period of scaling back his acting work, to accommodate directing and the Sundance festival, he now appears to be re-emerging energised. His advancing years only add to its subtlety: the difficulties he has hauling down the sail, or righting his dinghy, give his labours a frisson of fear and uncertainty a younger model would not. All may be lost for the boat, and very possibly the entire US, but on this evidence, certainly not for Redford himself.
And these are just the early reviews. Expect to hear more Oscar buzz for Redford as All Is Lost heads towards it's October 18th release.
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