Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lionsgate's ALL IS LOST (2013) Blu-ray: Don't Miss The Boat On One Of 2013's Best Films

All Is Lost (2013)


Buy the Blu-ray or DVD

The Movie

ALL IS LOST is a fantastic film, and while it may not have gotten buckets of Oscar nods this year, it is certainly one of the best things to hit the screen in 2013. When I initially saw the movie in the theater, I was completely awe-struck by it; due in equal parts to Robert Redford's amazing solo performance and the film's impeccable sound design and beautiful cinematography.

The official description from Lionsgate is as follows:
Robert Redford stars in ALL IS LOST, an open-water thriller about one man's battle for survival against the elements after his sailboat is destroyed at sea. Using only a sextant and nautical maps to chart his progress, he is forced to rely on ocean currents to carry him into a shipping lane in hopes of hailing a passing vessel. But with the sun unrelenting, sharks circling and his meager supplies dwindling, the ever-resourceful sailor soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face.
In short, ALL IS LOST is great. For starters, it features one of the best performances of the last 10 years.  Actor Robert Redford carries the film as the lone seaman involved in this life-or-death struggle against Mother Nature, and it's honestly a shame that he didn't get an Oscar nomination for his work here. Though he has almost no lines, he carries the film squarely on his back. If it weren't for him, then this movie might not work at all. This is a huge credit to the actor, who has almost no dialog during the entire running-time. We can't help but feel for Our Man (Redford's character literally has no name given in the film) as he and his boat are tossed around at sea like a rag doll. Every bump is felt by the audience, and Redford doesn't need to speak to let us know what he is feeling at any given moment. As his situation grows increasingly dire, the sense of both despair and the sheer will to survive is almost palpable. 

The cinematography is also a stunningly beautiful affair. For a film with such a restricted setting, the camera work is never boring, and the blending of visual effects and real-world set design is seamless. You can't help but get lost in the storm with Redford's character, and you're constantly wondering what will happen to him as the waves rage and water continues to pummel his craft.

Aside from Redford, the other real star of the film is its sound design. Every single raindrop and wave break is accounted for. The audio presentation of the film puts you square in the path of things, and you can't help but to be engulfed by it. It's simply marvelous, and the minimalist ambient score is married perfectly with the sounds of the open ocean to create one the most impressive soundscapes in recent memory.

It's rare that films with only a single, mostly silent character are able to engross you in the story on this level. Yet, somehow, Director J.C. Chandor pulls it off. Bringing us visuals that are beautiful one moment and terrifying the next, it's almost impossible to avert your eyes. The filmmaking on display here is almost masterful, and when coupled with one of the most nuanced acting performances of the last decade, the end result is something that isn't just watched - it's experienced. ALL IS LOST is not only one of the best films of 2013; its one of the best films of the last 20 years or so, and I can't recommend it enough.

Movie Score


The Blu-ray

Lionsgate brings ALL IS LOST home to Blu-ray in a very nice package. The initial release features a cardboard slipcover and a voucher for an Ultraviolet Digital copy of the film.

Video Quality (4.5/5)

ALL IS LOST is presented with a 1080p AVC-1 encoded transfer in the film's original aspect ratio. The beautiful cinematography is well represented, and translates just as well onto home video as it did on the big screen. I can't find anything at all to complain about, and the movie looks just as good on Blu-ray as it did in the theater.

Audio Quality (5/5)

This is where ALL IS LOST really shines in the technical department. The film's 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is an all-enveloping affair. Featuring an insanely nuanced sound design, you can hear every tiny detail of sea and its effects on the boat. The minimal score is blended perfectly with the rest of the soundscape, and quite frankly, the end result is awe-inspiring.

Extra Features (3.5/5)

ALL IS LOST comes with a decent assortment of special features. Nothing is overly amazing, but all of it is engaging and worthwhile.

  • Feature Commentary with Writer/Director J.C. Chandor, Producer Neal Dodson, and Producer Anna Gerb: Not a particularly lively affair, Chandor and his Producers do a fine job discussing the making of the film. Though the group is rather soft-spoken, there's still quite a bit of information to be gleaned from the track; especially if you love the film as much as I do.
  • ALL IS LOST - The Story (4 min): A brief featurette on the concept behind ALL IS LOST, featuring interviews with Redford and several key crew members.
  • The Filmmaker - J.C. Chandor (3 min): A featurette that profiles Chandor, how he became involved with the film, and how he works on set.
  • The Actor - Robert Redford (5 miu): A featurette all about Robert Redford. The piece details how Redford was cast and why he was drawn to the role. Nothing surprising, but considering Redford's fascinating turn in the film, it's fun to watch.
  • The Sound Of ALL IS LOST (12 min): This featurette is a bit more in-depth, and it's all about the film's sound design. Given that I think this is one of the strongest aspects of the film, this feature is a fascinating watch, and one that gives you a great appreciation for everything that went into creating the sonic world of the film.
  • Big Film, Small Film (6 min): This piece chronicles the large-scale production that went into the making of a relatively small-budget film. 
  • Preparing For The Storm (8 min): A nice feature where Writer/Director J.C. Chandor discusses all of the various phases that were employed to prepare for the filming of the movie. Super insightful and very cool to watch.

Final Thoughts

ALL IS LOST is one of my favorite films of 2013. Like GRAVITY, it showcases a single performance in a disastrous scenario, and it manages to continually up the ante in the tension department until its final moments. The real star of the show, besides Redford (who is amazing), is the sound design, and Lionsgate's Blu-ray release of the film does a bang-up job in presenting the aural landscape here. The video transfer is also very good, and there is a decent assortment of bonus content to give you a look behind the scenes at the film's production. The overall package is fantastic, and it's a disc that I will definitely be revisiting on a regular basis.

Highly Recommended!

Overall Blu-ray Score


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