One of the best parts of doing an interview is being able to ask nitpicky questions. I chose to ask mine while taking the photo you see to the right and it was where J.C. had come up with the name of the boat, Virginia Jean, that sinks in the Indian Ocean, leaving Robert Redford’s character in this one-man drama stranded at sea with no radio and few options.
This is Chandor’s second feature film as writer/director, and a compete change of pace from his last one, the financial thriller MARGIN CALL. Where that one was a dialogue-driven study of morality in the workplace, ALL IS LOST has virtually no spoken dialogue, making Redford’s prolonged, shouted use of an expletive all the more effective, not to mention one of the most fully justified use of that word in the profane sense in all of cinema.
Our conversation on October 13, 2013 included the freedom that a lack of dialogue gave Chandor, even while it gave some financiers pause. We also talked about Redford, of course, delivering a tour-de-force of a performance that allows the audience to hear what his character is thinking, doing his own stunts, and spending six weeks on the wrong side of a hose.
ALL IS LOST is a tale of adversity, determination, and the instinct for survival. Robert Redford plays a man making a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean whose boat, the Virginia Jean, is damaged by a stray container lost from a cargo ship. In a tour-de-force and virtually silent performance, Redford’s character, called “Our Man” in the credits, spends the rest of the film in increasingly dire circumstance as his wits, his mettle, and his sheer grit is tested as, without electronic technology, he weathers storms, lack of drinking water, and the crushing isolation without losing hope or his mind. Chandor directed from his own script. His previous work includes the incisive financial thriller, MARGIN CALL.