All Is Lost

In the new feature film All Is Lost, Robert Redford plays a solo sailor whose wits are tested after a collision in the Indian Ocean.

October 23, 2013

All is Lost movie

Richard Foreman/Roadside Attractions

Lin Pardey was excited. The prolific author and two-time circumnavigator had just received a call from a Hollywood studio. Robert Redford was shooting a film about offshore sailing. And the prop man wished to use a copy of Storm Tactics Handbook, a technical manual she’d written with her husband, Larry, in one of the scenes.

That conversation with Lin happened over a year ago, and I’d forgotten all about it until last spring’s Cannes Film Festival, when Redford’s latest motion picture, All Is Lost, debuted.

The movie is a thriller about a solo sailor who wakes in the middle of the Indian Ocean to discover that his 39-foot cruising boat is sinking after a collision with a shipping container, and it garnered sensational reviews.

Robert Redford
All Is Lost Photo by Daniel Daza/Roadside Attractions

Blogger and movie critic Alex Billington, for one, was blown away.

“This film is a work of art,” he writes. “Stunning in so many ways, and it couldn’t be simpler, but that’s why it’s so extraordinary. All Is Lost, the second feature from Oscar-nominated writer/director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) stars Redford and only Redford as the sole captain of a sailboat … damaged [at sea]. There isn’t any dialogue, only a few lines from Redford, and nothing [for 106 minutes] but him trying to survive on a boat. It’s grueling, thrilling, meticulous, inspiring and most importantly, moving. I can’t stop thinking about it and how wonderful it is.”

“Redford … plays this role with utter naturalism and lack of histrionics or self-regard,” added Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter.


Wow. At press time, All Is Lost was released in U.S. cinemas this October. After reading the many Cannes notices, I can’t wait. Like Lin Pardey, I have a few questions.

For instance, did Storm Tactics Handbook get the good old “Sundance Kid” out of his latest mess?

All is Lost opened in select theaters on October 18. Here‘s where you can see it:


Los Angeles – AMC Century City
Los Angeles – Arclight Hollywood
Los Angeles – The Landmark

New York – AMC Lincoln Square
New York – Angelika Film Center
New York – Cinemas 1, 2, 3

The movie will open nationwide on Oct. 25.


From the production notes:

With their one-man cast in place, the producers sat down with the list of necessities for shooting the film. At the very top: a handful of sailboats, and a place to sink them. As it turned out, shooting the story of one man and his boat actually required three boats—specifically, three 39-foot Cal yachts. While all of them serve as Our Man’s sailboat, the Virginia Jean, each of the three boats was used for a separate purpose: One was for open sea sailing and exterior scenes, another was for the tight interior shots, and the third was for special effects.


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