Thrusting the audience under the briny depths of the Indian Ocean before momentarily letting them surface for air, All Is Lost is an irrefutably immersive experience. Achieved principally through old-fashioned effects (with CGI used sparingly), Chandor showcases his technical proficiency, with the film's chaotic rhythm gracefully oscillating between nervous tension and quiet contemplation. Some of the drama's strongest moments are when we observe our silent protagonist contemplate his next move, calculating the odds and, in a calm and collected manner, approaching the problem at hand with composed dexterity.
Whilst there may be the nagging doubt that this is purely a flamboyant exercise in concept execution, Redford's nuanced central performance and the film's shrewdly sculpted dramatics are so instinctively aligned that the audience soon becomes utterly enthralled, equipped to see past the novelty and focus exclusively on the experience they're enduring. A nerve-wracking reimagining of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, All Is Lost's grandiose portrait of honour in struggle is a lucid and indomitable celebration of the endurance of the human spirit that makes for one hell of a ride.