Friday, January 17, 2014

ALL IS LOST - 1 nomination


This film has one nomination for Best Sound Editing.

At this point, where I would normally just review the film, I think I'll take a moment to explain what this nomination is for, and when I get to the first film with a Best Sound nomination, I'll contrast what makes these awards different.

Sound Editing is a category that recognizes sound design of a film.  It's about how the sound lends to the feel and mood of the film.  Sound designers may use anything in their skill set to create and merge all of the (usually pre)recorded elements of the film so that the sound is almost a supporting actor of the film.  Sound effects and dialogue are the two biggies that a sound editor is generally responsible for.

Because sound effects play a large role in this category, often the films nominated in this category have a ton of special effects.  Movies with lots of shooting (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker) tend to be nominated, and most of the time, win.  (As I review the other films in this category, you'll see what I mean - lots of fight scenes, for the most part.)

All Is Lost is a movie with almost no dialogue and is totally reliant on Robert Redford and everything he must do to stay alive on his damaged yacht after having been crashed into by a larger shipping cargo container.  It's a hard movie to watch because it's so methodical and uses only action to communicate what is happening.  But if you can stick with it, it is poignant and engaging.

The entire movie is watching this character encounter challenges (storms, sharks, a sinking yacht, a burning raft) and then in an effort to stay alive, he uses skill and his wits to keep going.  We watch him lose one thing after another, and with each new loss, he has to creatively find ways to keep going.  As time passes, he is left only with his body in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and must decide whether to continue or to give in.  At one point in the film, he sees a potential rescuer and fires his flares, and when we realize that no one on the boat has seen him and that they aren't coming to rescue him, our heart breaks a little as we slowly see the desperation cross Robert Redford's face.

I once heard a screenwriter say that dialogue is only necessary when emotion can't be delivered by the actors faces on screen.  Robert Redford is able to convey all that he's feeling and thinking without any words, and is so engaging and his character is so clever, you can't help but root for him.  The ending is redemptive and a relief, but it doesn't come cheaply.  (My husband says I can't give any spoilers, so I won't tell you if he lives.)

Bottom line, you really have to want to make it through this movie in order to do so because it is extremely labor intensive for the watcher.  There isn't so much a plot as a series of happenings and what Redford does to deal with them.  But if you do stick with it, the journey is satisfying enough to make it worth the time.  If I had to sum up the whole movie in one phrase, it would be "just keep swimming."  Or, I guess, "all is not lost."

Finally, in reference to the category, I can see how this got a Sound Editing nomination.  The whole movie is reliant on sound editing, one actor, and a terrific score to bring the movie to life.  So good job Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns, and good luck!

Here's a trailer for the film, if you haven't seen it yet:
All Is Lost Movie Trailer

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