In All Is Lost, a movie that features almost no dialogue, Robert Redford delivers some of his best work ever as a man trying to survive a shipwreck in the Indian Ocean.

While sleeping in his yacht, Redford’s character (simply called “Our Man” in the credits) is abruptly awakened by a floating cargo bin crashing into his boat’s side. What follows is more than 100 minutes of Redford’s character solving problems and fighting to stay alive.

Much credit goes to the legendary actor, as well as relative newbie writer-director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call), for making this compelling from start to finish. You’ll be surprised by how gripping the sight of a man simply trying to repair his boat can be.

Redford looks like he put himself through the ringer, and the results are well worth it. His character gets no real back-story; other than one loud expletive, a couple of radio-transmission attempts, and some quick narration at the start, Redford’s character never speaks. There’s no need: Redford does it all with his face in a performance for which he will always be remembered.

In one of Oscar’s biggest shockers this year, Redford was passed over for a nomination (as was another big seafaring actor named Tom Hanks) for a Best Actor nomination. Redford deserved a nomination over Christian Bale (for American Hustle) and Bruce Dern (for Nebraska). I don’t know what else Redford could have done to get a nod. He’s only gotten one other Oscar nomination for acting, 40 years ago for The Sting. He absolutely deserved the accolade this year, and the snub is strange.

Special Features: A director’s commentary (without Redford) and some featurettes on the making of the movie. 

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