(out of 5)
Combining the brilliance of a director and the confidence of an actor who knows how to fill a movie screen while barely uttering a word (he has about three lines of dialogue in the entire thing) you have an exciting tale of adventure and survival that goes to harrowing extremes. Director J.C. Chandor opens the film with Robert Redford waking up on his sail boat in the Indian Ocean, the body of his vessel pierced by a floating shipping container that was abandoned by its carrier. He repairs the hole as best as he can but then a storm comes; he weathers its dangers but time progresses, luck turns against him and things grow progressively worse, seeing him eventually on a life raft through even more harrowing weather. We enjoy the process of his resourcefulness, as there is barely a situation he is not prepared for, but eventually Redford is overwhelmed by nature and his spirit begins to be affected by the challenges that assault him. All that without words, this is Gravity on the sea, Life of Pi without the silly spiritual stuff and a little bit of the soothing ritualism of Jeanne Dielman to boot. Effective direction, superb sound design and gorgeous photography places you out in the middle of the ocean for a fully transporting effect that grips you until the devastating conclusion. This movie is perfection, and Redford, who has never appeared vulnerable in a movie before, is at the very top of his game.
Directed by J.C. Chandor
Screenplay by J.C. Chandor
Music by Alex Ebert
Production Design by John P. Goldsmith
Costume Design by Van Broughton Ramsey
Film Editing by Pete Beaudreau