Tuesday, March 25, 2014

ALL IS LOST | 2013 | Me Watching ALL IS LOST at Home, Alone

Oh, this is going to be all ambient noise and linear storytelling, I'm going to need a snack.
(Press pause).
(Make nachos).
(Press play).

Oh, no.

Was this character the guy at the marina who was annoying with his can-do attitude?  Or is this just lifelong experience coming to fruition, preparation meets "opportunity"?

Oh no.

Chomp, chomp, chomp (me eating nachos, otherwise watching in awed silence).

This is amazing.  I'm watching this.  I feel like this isn't enough, like this shouldn't hold my attention, but I can't look away.

Oh no.

Extended silence.  No nacho eating.  No thoughts.  Silence.  Watching.

And then came the part in the film where the last grand gesture goes horribly wrong.  Me, out loud:  Are you fucking kidding me?!?

And then the end.

And then I got it.

Well, got it for me.

For me, the ending just pushed everything I'd seen before into allegory territory.  In life, in general, you succeed if you are honest and give your all.  Our Man (Redford) used all of his skills.  He pushed himself mentally and physically.  He took risks.  He took honest stock of himself.  And he acknowledged he made mistakes.  Even if he died, he succeeded.

But that's my take.  It turns out, a lot has been written about the meaning of this movie and what actually happened.  The debate about the actual fate of Our Man is the least interesting to me (All Is Lost. Or Is It?, Slate, 10/18/13), but I'm a fan of ambiguity.  

I do like the interview that Slate article references (The Sun-Dried Kid, The New York Times, 10/9/13), because it turns out I'm pretty much with Mr. Redford on this one.

(I got it right!  I totally nailed the single correct interpretation of this rich, multi-faceted story!  I like ambiguity, but I love being right). 

(OK, maybe that's not the only single correct interpretation, but it's the best, because it's so similar to Robert Redford's.  You see, no matter how you slice it, I totally aced the non-competitive experience that encourages personal reflection.  High-five me!) 

As far as other interpretations, I can absolutely see this as a parable for old age (All is Lost - Review, The Guardian, 12/26/13).  I can see the commentary on self-destruction via consumerism a little less (The Strong, Largely Silent Type, The New York Times, 10/18/13), but, sure, there's something to that too.

For now, I'll stick with my own, it suits where I'm at right now.  For me, for now, like Redford, “I’m interested in that thing that happens where there’s a breaking point for some people and not for others...  You go through such hardship, things that are almost impossibly difficult, and there’s no sign that it’s going to get any better, and that’s the point when people quit. But some don’t.”

I get why people quit.  I sometimes think they're the wise ones.  But, as long as you're here, breathing, what else are you going to do?  You have to not quit.