I have enjoyed a series of highly memorable films at Ann Arbor’s State Theater over the past six months and was saddened to see a recent article revealing that it may be transitioning out of film exhibition. While it is admittedly an older venue, there is a distinct retro and neighborhood charm to the place, and the marquee is downright iconic and beautiful. I also feel there is an obvious – though perhaps legally/logistically difficult – opportunity to bring the State back to its former glory by booting out the downstairs generic Urban Outfitters, which has MAINTAINED THE MAIN MOVIE SCREEN IT REPLACED, and reconfigure it back into a movie palace. But will that happen???
With these thoughts in mind I ventured to the State on Friday night to catch the new release All Is Lost. The film has drawn attention for its casting novelty of only featuring Robert Redford, and is the followup film from J.C. Chandor, who made a splash in 2011 with the drama Margin Call, one of my favorite films I saw that year.
This film does not disappoint and offers an at-times harrowing intensity seeing Redford brave against the elements of the Indian Ocean (actually filmed in Baja California and various other points in the Southern California/Northwest Mexico regions). Some might say it’s more of a filmed staged play, as there’s very little dialogue and Redford is (ably) forced to carry the narrative on his active shoulders. The 77 year old actor did not shy away from that challenge, as he willingly performed most if not all of his stunts according to published reports. I am rarely disappointed with films/narratives that offer a full spectrum human experience.