Monday, November 4, 2013

From Wordy to Wordless, J.C. Chandor's Minimalist "All Is Lost"

All Is Lost * * *

     All Is Lost is a singular story, simple, told well, and in the present. It compounds a series of losses, all disastrous in their immediacy but salvage-able in their wake. As the poet Bishop wrote, "The art of losing isn't hard to master." Spare words and a plot transpiring entirely in the now characterize the film's every moment beyond the "8 days earlier" title screen that follows it's inconsistent antithetical out-of-sequence opening where Robert Redford's voice is heard reading a letter to his loved ones. Then the inciting incident where a cargo crate's rough corner slices open a hole in Redford's sailing vessel plays out in real time. He calmly anchors the crate to pry it out of the boat, deftly maneuvers the boat to lift its gouge above water, and expertly begins repairs with a glue compound and a paintbrush.