I went to see All Is Lost earlier this week at the Tropic Cinema and I went with a mixture of trepidation and curiosity. I'd seen the trailer a few times and I was curious to see if he survives his sailboat sinking under him - the trailer suggests not. I was also curious to see how well a sailing movie would depict the dark art of crossing water under sail. There was also some trepidation because a) I wasn't sure the movie could hold my interest and b) if it was any good would I get flashbacks to when I had my own problems at sea? Judging by early reviews in the respected West Coast Sailing Magazine Latitude 38 the movie sucks:
Well, shucks. Hollywood has the chance to really represent sailing accurately — relatively speaking, of course — and it appears they dropped the ball . . . yet again. The debacle that was The Perfect Storm or even the ridiculous 'rescue' scene in Dead Calm were painful enough but now we have another epic fail to add to the list. We have yet to watch the film for ourselves, but reports from sailors are flooding in about Robert Redford's 'tour de force' performance in All is Lost and the reviews aren't favorable.
The one-man show that boast a grand total of approximately three words follows the harrowing trials of a sailor whose boat sinks out from under him in the Indian Ocean. The trailers looked exciting and passably accurate but we're told the rest of the film is a disappointment. "From the moment his boat gets rammed by the free-floating container to the last scene where he decides it would be a good idea to start a bonfire in his WWII-vintage rubber liferaft to create a signal fire," writes Corte Madera's Linda Muñoz, "anyone who has ever gone on a Bay cruise on pretty much any type of vessel would agree that you don't want to go sailing with this guy. He's only adrift for eight days and barely has any food, almost no water, no PFD or lifesaving suit, no GPS or radio, and no flare gun. Redford does his best but unfortunately, the massive number of inaccuracies and unbelievable situations ruins the movie for anyone who has sailed."
Hugo Landecker, who sails his Westsail 32 Alexander out of San Rafael, agrees with Linda. "There were so many mistakes in this film but I didn't have a pencil and paper to record the countless errors. He made navigating with a sextant look so easy! Just wave it at the horizon and voila! You have a plot fix on the chart! There were so many inaccuracies that this serious 'thriller' turned into a comedy for me. My poor wife's arm was bruised by the time the movie was over for all the times I nudged her when there was a mistake. I'm sure non-boaters would enjoy the drama, but after seeing this film, they'll never get on anything resembling a watercraft."
We'd been looking forward to seeing All is Lost on the big screen but after hearing these dismal reviews, we'll just add it to our Netflix queue and pop Captain Ron into the DVD player. It may not be that much more accurate but at least it was meant to make us laugh
- latitude / ladonna
If you are a sailor and go into this movie looking for nits to pick you will find them. I got completely lost in the story and I had no time to see any of them. I loved how the sailor's boat and equipment was worn and actually looked used. He was a perfectly middle class average sailor just like any of us and suddenly "all is lost." I thought it was a fabulously absorbing drama all the way through. I guess there are a lot of sailors in Key West, or perhaps Robert Redford still has magnetic movie star powers because the theater was almost full when I went to see the film. I'm very glad I did as I cannot get the story out of my head. You should go too whether or not you know how to sail. This film will reward you and put you off sailing!