9. All Is Lost
How the hell did All Is Lost get made? I don’t mean, "How did they film it?" (Though more than once, I did marvel at director J.C. Chandor’s impressive patience as he filmed a quiet, chaotic sea-faring drama.) I mean, "How the hell did Chandor convince a producer to back a largely dialogue-free drama that rests squarely on the shoulders of an 77-year-old actor?"

Thank God someone took a chance, because All Is Lost is mesmerizing. The plot couldn’t be more simple. A sailor alone at sea encounters a problem with his boat as a storm approaches. But the tension milked from this medium-concept scenario is nerve-rattling. It helps that the 77-year-old actor recruited by Chandor is Robert Redford, who hasn’t had a part as sparse but meaningful in years.

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