Wednesday, April 9, 2014
A bit of fiction to relieve the tension
Just watched the movie "All is Lost" because it had a sailboat in it, and one of my favorite actors , Robert Redford. If you include the ocean, and a shipping container, then these are all of the 4 characters in the movie, only one that is human. Unfortunately this is not a sailor's movie, unless you wanted to do a "Mystery Science Theater 3000" event, or a beer drinking game. Further to my disappointment is that this isn't even a good drama.
I do not place any of the blame on Mr. Redford, other than not stepping in as a Director to resolve what J. Chandor failed miserably at, if for no other reason than to protect his reputation and history of high quality entertainment.
In listening to the special features of the DVD that I watched I get the sense that the production was all to focused on the technical aspects of the movie and failed in the most primary of concerns, which is to have a story worth telling. What is almost offensive is that while the production staff pat's themselves on the back for the achievements of scale such as using 3 different but identical real boats, and clean matching of real life footage to CGI footage, filming style choices like not having dialog, it makes such basic errors such as waves coming over the boat that look like stage hands, just off camera, with buckets are throwing them from every direction instead of the more regular patterns and directions that actually occur. The producers claims to realism are dahsed to piece when we see how effortlessly our 70 year old sailor pulls himself easily up and down a 50 foot mast, and hoe the mast has almost no sway at the top, or how he pulls himself out of the water after being washed overboard, at the bow, and shows no real great affect of utter exhaustion from his effort to save himself. The list could go on and I think that that is better left as a drinking game for real sailors who might have to take a shot every time something happens on screen that makes no sense to anyone who has offshore experience. But be warned, you'd be drowned in drink long before anybody on screen is.
Development of a flawed character might have revealed why some of these inconsistencies might exist, but I get the sense that there was no back story to who the main character was or where he was coming from. This is basic writing stuff and Redford deserves more. It was good to see him on screen again, good to see the sea, and a boat, but the film is overall not one of the many sea films I would ever want to view again.
The real tragedy for me is that at an age where any movie project might be his last Mr. Redford's career record is being dragged down by the Director's lack of effort to vet his script thru an experienced maritime consultant and to have failed to have given us a real and complete character, story, film.