Friday, 3 January 2014


Commendably simple and effective story of a man's lone survival struggle in the midst of the Indian Ocean. Writer/director J.C. Chandor keeps this virtually wordless drama clutter-free by furnishing us with no details at all of Robert Redford's character's (the film's only person) background, work or family, if any. So we are mercifully spared those cringeworthy "I love you, Daddy!" moments.

The film opens with Redford's voice-over uttering just a very few words of resigned despair and apology for finding himself in the hopeless situation which has developed. It then reels back "Eight Days Earlier" to reveal how he arrived at this point, when he woke up to find the sea invading his yacht, it having been rammed and holed by one of those huge, sea-transit metal containers floating free on the ocean. The entire film then depicts his fight to stay afloat and alive. 

There are only so many situations one can meet alone at sea, all of which we have seen before in numerous films - leaky craft, tempestuous weather, communications not working, hostile marine life, ships passing unobserved, starvation/dehydration, I think that covers it all (other than the far less likely intercession of aliens). Several of these are covered in this tautly-told story.

It must have been a nightmare to shoot, with the film crew always having to be out of camera-shot. It is believable, as is Redford in the part, with his already weather-beaten features undergoing still further deterioration in the course of the film, which mirrors the mountain of stresses he undergoes and his helpless moments as he strives against the odds to survive. He is so rarely seen on screen nowadays in any case so that by itself ups the interest level.

An involving story, efficiently told, which, for a change in so many of today's films, doesn't outstay its welcome...........................7


  1. I will add this to the to watch DVD list

    1. It's pretty good, Sol. I especially liked the perilous situation being presented head on and raw without any of the sentimental clutter than nearly always goes along with this kind of film.