J.C. Chandor’s Oscar-nominated screenplay for "Margin Call" took him 10 years to write. That film was a deliberate, careful study of what it takes for a man to survive on Wall Street, with a large ensemble cast. But while Chandor’s new film, “All Is Lost,” makes use of the same deceptively simple writing and directing style, this time it stars just one person: Robert Redford.
"All Is Lost," which is screening out of competition at Cannes, begins with a few plainspoken words from Redford, whose character is at sea on a small sailboat. From that point on, the film relies only on Redford’s actions; no other dialogue is spoken. Still, we learn much about his character from watching him struggle through a series of tests.
When his boat is hit by a stray shipping container full of shoes, he carefully sets about patching...