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This is a dream project for an actor who aged spectacularly well, but who does not seem to focus enough on acting to get roles suitable to his well-weathered face. The Old Man and the Sea is what you want to do (if not King Lear), and that’s what Redford does here: just him and a boat, facing the calamity of experience getting a hit by a floating cargo container.

Slowly but steadily the situation deteriorates (not always in a logical way), until, well, all is lost. J.C. Chandor, one of the most exciting directors of recent years (the splendidly cool “Margin Call” and the new “A Most Violent Year” which sounds very promising) plays it very relaxed and shows a man who faces trouble, but cannot be overwhelmed by it (most of the time).

There is almost no dialogue (nor monologue), there is very limited frantic hero action. There is mostly the effort of a regular guy without exceptional survival talents to survive an accident. He tries the same strategies most of us would try, some of which we may have seen in the movies, and some of which fail miserably. So he carries on to try the next thing. Watching Redford do this makes for very intensive cinema, but not quite for a survival thriller. As such, a couple of terrible days in the life of a rich man with a boat, this works very well!

One Comment

  1. I realize they deliberately went for a slow paced story with no dialogue, but I was bored. I didn’t have the patience (or interest) to sit through all that, so I fast-forwarded to the end to see what happened. Good performance, but not my cup of tea.

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