The year’s most austere yet rousing, harrowing yet thrilling and philosophical yet utterly practical-minded adventure-drama features Robert Redford alone in a boat – an old man and the sea, with barely a word spoken. The title of JC Chandor’s resonant follow-up to his terrific 2011 bad-business drama Margin Call sets the tone for a riveting demonstration of what it means to live in the present, drawing every drop of human ingenuity a man can muster to be saved, not lost. Redford, as a solo unidentified sailor on the Indian Ocean in an acutely damaged boat, concentrates on the present, moment by moment, task by task, to stem a cascade of life-and-death crises.
It is that balance of vastness, aloneness, and one man’s resourcefulness that makes All Is Lost such a moving experience filled with majesty right up to its mysterious final moments. That Redford – the Sundance Kid himself, now a sun-weathered 77 years old – allows himself to be water-weathered, too, is an elemental part of the pleasure. (Lionsgate)