So I just saw Black Panther. Kinda makes you want to start working out…
This past summer I watched a DVD of the 2013 film, All Is Lost, featuring Robert Redford, conceived and directed by J. C. Chandor. With virtually no dialogue and only Redford onscreen for almost the entirety, the film captures one man’s determination to stay alive adrift at sea. It’s not an easy film to watch, but so well worth the effort.
There is a depth and a quality to Redford’s performance that is the result of years’ experience. When a performer reaches his level, all the self-conscious mannerisms, the posing and posturing, are gone, stripped down to raw character. It was a privilege to watch this man, this actor, at the pinnacle of his skills. Despite a little concern beforehand, I did not notice the absence of dialogue or other performers.
Redford is so good that you can sense there are people in his life “back home,” a reason to fight as hard as he does. I do not know who else could do this role. Eastwood maybe, although, with no one to play off of and/or fight against (key to his acting), he might not have the ability to go within himself – and stay there – as Redford does for the firm’s duration.
There’s one shot of Redford in particular that still haunts me – and the movie as a whole has stayed in my consciousness – where the blood visibly drains from his face. How, how, does someone do that?
In DVD extras, director Chandor said this part was for Redford. He admits to trepidation over directing the famed senior actor, not to mention subjecting him to the physical stresses of the job. The end result, though, proved both to the challenge.
I was surprised to see that Amazon reviewers, about 1800 people, gave the film a cumulative 3 out of 5 rating. This is one time I don’t want to read anyone else’s opinion or criticism, even after the fact. Professional critics scored it much higher. If I was going to guess, Amazon reviewers probably didn’t think enough “happened” action-wise, while movie critics lauded Redford’s performance.
As I said, the film isn’t easy fare, but with Redford spending so much time in recent years offscreen, I jumped at the chance to see him, especially in this genre. Moreover, I think I owe someone of his skill and talent, an actor, director and innovator I’ve appreciated for decades, to watch him do what he does best. Understated brilliance.
I started to read 50 Shades of Grey when it was big news but couldn’t get all the way through it. I knew I wasn’t having the appropriate response. It wasn’t the kinky S&M sex I took issue with – the book started kinda hot. As I kept reading though, despite having a nonviolent nature, I wanted to smack the dominant male protagonist, Christian. And not in a sexy way either.
The relationship with the less experienced Ana, begins consensually, but when he truly hurts her – beats her really – without her consent, I was done. I stopped reading. The kink-capades lost their sizzle.
I believe that the pair goes on to attempt a more mainstream relationship in a following book(s) while addressing his “issues.” I don’t give a flip about his issues. Work your problems out with a nice therapist, not sexually on a gullible young woman. I’m of an age and experience where instead of relating to Ana and living vicariously through her, I felt protective toward her. I’m not the target audience, not when I feel like popping Christian upside the head.
Not sure if I’ll see the upcoming movie. I know I won’t see it in the theater but maybe later. However, I might well get to the non-consensual beating scene and no further.