All Is Lost ★★★½

It’s hard to find fault with much of anything in ALL IS LOST. The music, by Alex Ebert of The Magnetic Fields, is sometimes intrusive, but mostly just in contrast to how well the movie works with only diegetic sounds in its audio design. If anything, Chandor’s movie maybe suffers from being too realistic, or maybe it’s just constrained by the natural limits of the survival genre. While the man’s plight is viscerally captured, it offers no surprises or revelations, and its portrait of the psychology of tested resilience squares perfectly with what one might expect in a real situation, just lacking the artistic inspiration to make something meaningful out of it. Chandor’s faultlessly middling approach is accurate, but either needed to get closer to the man or farther away for a more immediate or thoughtful perspective. Thankfully, Chandor resisted gilding the edges of ALL IS LOST with sentimental details, like those that tarnished GRAVITY, but the movie's only context for the man's character, one short block of dialog at the very beginning, may have meant more if saved for the end.

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