The Film All Is Lost and Its Subtext

The film ALL IS LOST had amazing subtext. As a matter of fact, ALL IS LOST has a total-story subtext about anxiety and depression.

Many needing self help feel like the protagonist in ALL IS LOST, that they are lost at sea with no help coming.

Here is Internet Movie Data Base’s (IMDB) logline about All IS LOST: “After a collision with a shipping container at sea, a resourceful sailor finds himself, despite all efforts to the contrary, staring his mortality in the face.”

The one character in this film is called Our Man and he’s in deep trouble. The collision with the container left a hole in his boat and the boat’s flooding ruined his computer system, which took away his ability to call for help.

So, this subtext we were talking about. Let’s learn more about it:

“Subtext is the deeper meaning of the scene, what the scene is REALLY about. Film-file writers must identify what each scene MEANS. Example: a scene in a movie might be that a few guys show up at a campsite and are friendly with the people they meet – the real reason (subtext) for that scene was that those guys are casing that location and they’re coming back to rob those people later, which they do. Subtext is easier to identify and explain on your second and third viewing of your movie. The more you view a movie, the clearer the subtext will become.”

Diagnosing movie scenes for subtext is an interesting, but a difficult brain training exercise. And not every movie has the honor of being considered one complete piece of subtext, like ALL IS LOST does.

Our Man’s journey after hitting that cargo container was one of total hardship, which made the movie depressing at times. There were flat parts during the movie, but when considering that the film had one actor and hardly any dialogue, director J.C. Candor did an outstanding job of keeping this film interesting.

Days after viewing this film, it still resonated within me.

It was during this time when I realized the ‘movie as a whole’ subtext it contained, that this movie could be in one person’s mind, that a person’s depression and anxiety made him or her feel lost at sea.

Our Man was fantastic about survival, a true hero that every movie desires. He managed to keep himself going day after day, much like a person in depression battles to keep sane.

But as each day passed without being rescued, his hopes slowly dissipated.

Close to death Our Man noticed a boat in the distance, its lights visible in the night’s darkness. Our Man had nothing to lose, for to miss this opportunity was his last chance. He lit a fire in his life raft, knowing the fire would sink the raft, but knowing he could not go on any longer. It was do or die.

Can those in need of self help make this pivotal move like Our Man did to break free of the anxiety holding them hostage?

The answer is YES. This message of hope is ALL IS LOST’s subtext.

To know story (film) is to know your own life – it’s all connected. To replace anxiety with creativity is a joyful trade.

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