A few years back I was much impressed with a film called Into The Wild.
That was the story of young Chris McCandless, the self-styled ''Alexander Supertramp'' who decided to pit his skill and wits against an Alaskan winter, and succumbed to malnutrition trapped on the wrong side of a river.
At the time, I thought it was a moving and admirable film, and I wrote it up accordingly.
But a few weeks later, I chanced on an article about McCandless which pointed out that if he had spent a few dollars on a map, then he would have known that there was a perfectly good bridge only a few kilometres away, and he would have been able to cross the swollen river to safety.
I thought about this while watching All Is Lost, the latest from Robert Redford and director Jeffrey Chandor (Margin Call).
Redford plays an unnamed yachtie alone and in strife somewhere out in the Indian Ocean.
Redford's beloved boat has been punctured by a rogue shipping container.
For the next 100 minutes, we will watch as Redford tries to save his boat, and then simply to survive, as everything that can go wrong, does.
Your respect and affection for this film will rest almost entirely on your tolerance for Robert Redford.
Personally, I think Redford's great years are a long way behind him, and these days he's a leathery old streak of tedium with nought but earnestness where his charisma used to be.But the real reason All Is Lost failed to move me is this: there is a device called a personal locator beacon.
They can be had for a few hundred dollars.
If Redford's hapless yachtie hadn't spent all his spare cash on cosmetic dentistry and hair dye, he might have bothered to buy one, and this entire film would have been over in about 15 minutes flat as Redford was rescued by the nearest ship.
Into The Wild was a fine film, but knowing that its subject was a complete bloody fool tends to diminish the story in my memory.
All Is Lost is a fictional film about a fictional idiot.
Despite a great deal of skill behind the camera, and - to be fair - Redford giving it his all, I really couldn't bring myself to care.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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