Robert Redford's 'All is Lost' isn't the only one-man movie of the year. And there's more to come.
It's been years since we've had a good solo adventure, and now two come along at once. With Gravity still in the box office charts, All Is Lost is just arriving in cinemas (read our review here). For other examples, you have to go back to 2009 for Moon (Sam Rockwell in an abandoned moon base) or even further to 2000's Cast Away (Tom Hanks on an island with a volleyball). Please don't mention 2010's Buried (Ryan Reynolds in a box) or 2012's Brake (Stephen Dorff in a car boot).
Robert Redford in 'All is Lost'
Both Gravity and All Is Lost have essentially the same plot, following a single character - played by awards contenders Sandra Bullock and Robert Redford, respectively- in a series of life-or-death moments that have us on the edge of our seats. Both plots are more than a little contrived, but they make up for it with bravura filmmaking.
Studios don't make these kinds of movies because it's cheaper to film without all those pesky costars. They green-light these films because they're passion projects made by first-rate filmmakers who know what they're doing. And the concepts are so simple that even an impatient Hollywood executive can understand them.
So is this a new trend, or a one-off convergence of two similar films (like Armageddon and Deep Impact in 1998, or Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down earlier this year)? Well there's another one doing the festival rounds: Tom Hardy is the lone man on screen in Locke, a new film from Steven Knight (Hummingbird/Redemption) that takes place entirely in a car over a 90-minute drive down an English motorway. Like Bullock and Redford, Hardy is someone who's easy to watch for 90-minutes straight. But who will be next?