All is Lost (2013)
Usually you cannot go wrong watching a Robert Redford movie. All is Lost is like no other Redford film because he is the only person in the entire movie.
Of Course, the concept of only one person in a movie has been done a few times before. Usually movies like this one give the actor the opportunity to show what they are really made of. Movies like this are risky because one person has to literally carry the whole film on his back. In Redford’s case, it is up to him whether he sinks or swims.
All is Lost is about a lone sailor who rips a hole in his boat after crashing into a shipping container in the middle of the ocean. He is forced to use whatever he has on board to try to stay afloat in order to survive.
The film was written and directed by J.C. Chandor and as I mentioned before, Redford is the only person in the movie.
Redford has been behind the camera more often in recent years than he has been in front of the camera. All is Lost is the second film that he has been in this year. The first one was The Company You Keep (2012). Redford is now 77 years old. It is almost like he has realized that he is not getting any younger and has decided to try to go out with a bang. What better way to do this than to be the only star in a film and showcase all of your acting skills for the world to see. He did exactly that in All is Lost and in my opinion, it was his best performance since the film The Natural (1984). It may also, quite possibly, have been Redford’s best movie overall since The Natural.
All is Lost is not a feel good movie, but it is a movie that might make you feel better about life after watching it. It is definitely a film that will stick with you.
Because the film is a one-man-show, there is not a lot of talking. Not just anyone could have starred in this movie, and to me, it was more meaningful that it was Robert Redford who did. It is a hard story to tell and an even harder part to act.
I think that All is Lost is Redford’s third best movie behind The Sting (1973) and The Natural. It is hard to beat those two films, and given that they were made 29 years ago and 40 years ago, you really can’t compare them.
Fans of Redford will not be disappointed with All is Lost. I think that it is one of the best films of the year. He deserves an Academy Award nomination for best actor and the film should be nominated for best picture.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you liked All is Lost, then you will most likely enjoy the following films:
127 Hours (2010)
I have been a fan of Robert Redford ever since I watched the film The Sting (1973) for the first time when I was a little kid. Brubaker is a Redford movie that I had not seen, until now.
The movie is about Henry Brubaker (Robert Redford), the new warden of a prison in Arkansas who initially poses as an inmate to try to figure out just how corrupt the system is before revealing his true identity as the new warden. Brubaker is a hard-nosed man who will stop at nothing to reform the deteriorating prison.
The film was directed by Stuart Rosenberg and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Murray Hamilton, Jane Alexander, David Keith, Matt Clark, Morgan Freeman, Yaphet Kotto, M. Emmet Walsh, Albert Salmi, Everett McGill, Noble Willingham, and Wilford Brimley.
The movie was a little hard to follow in the beginning. It was all over the place showing what it was like inside of the prison. The film took a turn for the better when it started focusing on Redford’s part of the story.
For a prison movie, it was slower than I expected. This turned out to be a good thing because it allowed for plenty of character development.
It was refreshing to watch a movie for the first time that has Robert Redford in his prime. He gave a convincing, solid and powerful performance of a stubborn man trying to do the right thing no matter how much trouble he gets himself into.
Freeman’s part was very minor, but it was fun to see him much younger than he is now. He seemed to have a few less freckles, too. I know that is completely random, but I found it interesting.
Being that the film takes place in a prison and it is rated R, I expected there to be a lot of cussing, and there was a good amount. However, for a movie that was made in 1980, I was surprised at how many F-bombs there actually were. It wouldn’t be considered a lot by today’s standards, but it felt like a lot for a movie that was made 33 years ago. Actually, if the film had been released today, it would only take a little bit of minor tweaking to give it a PG-13 rating. All they would have to do is edit out the 5 seconds of nudity and some of the F words.
Overall, the movie told a unique story of right vs. wrong. If you are a fan of Redford, then you will most likely enjoy Brubaker.
I rate this movie a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
Note: I couldn’t help but think of Morgan Freeman’s other prison movie, The Shawshank Redemption (1994). In The Shawshank Redemption, Freeman’s character has been in prison for a long time. Brubaker was made 14 years before The Shawshank Redemption. Each character that Freeman played in those films is not a big stretch from one another, except for the fact that his role was very minor in Brubaker.
The Company you Keep (2012)
The Company you keep is based off of the novel with the same name written by Neil Gordon.
I was excited to see this movie because I often enjoy movies about investigative journalism, not to mention the cast is fully loaded with talent. Redford directs and stars alongside LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Surandon, Stanley Tucci, Terrence Howard, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Richard Jenkins, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Elliot, Stephen Root, Anna Kendrick, Brit Marling, and Jackie Evancho. Redford may be getting old, but he still has the star power to bring together a big A-list group of actors to make a movie.
The Weather Underground is an anti-war activist group that was around during the Vietnam War era. I had heard about this group before, but I went into the film knowing absolutely nothing about them. The movie explains what the group was all about, but given the fact that the story is based off of a novel, they sort of mix fact with fiction.
Like most films about investigative journalism, the story moves along at a slow to steady pace as the reporter tries to figure things out about the story that he is trying to tell. There is plenty of time for character development and the dialogue is well-written. Great actors tend to pop up out of the woodwork like weeds when these types of movies are made and The Company you Keep is no exception.
It was refreshing to see Robert Redford acting again. He hasn’t been in a movie since Lions for Lambs (2007). Although he has always been a tremendous actor, he really has aged. They tried to make him seem younger in the film by dying his hair and having him jogging in one scene. But, when all is said and done, the movie icon was too old for the part he was playing. This fact took a little bit away from the film.
The person that really stood out the most was Shia LaBeouf. He has strong screen presence, and when he is not doing a Transformers movie, his charisma can really take over a movie. The rest of the cast played their parts well but, LaBeouf was the glue that held the film together.
The Company you Keep was quality filmmaking with a few flaws. The flaws weren’t very noticeable until a little over halfway through the film. Redford did his best with the story that he had, but ultimately the movie was anticlimactic and it became predictable. The dialogue was great, the acting was superb, but there were few surprises along the way to make the movie stand out.
The film was worth seeing, if only to watch masters of the acting craft at work.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
If you liked The Company You Keep, then you will probably enjoy the following films: