Making a film revolving around one, almost entirely silent, man lost at sea is inarguably a risky prospect, but director J.C Chandor and his leading man Robert Redford pull it off with aplomb.

Redford plays an unnamed sailor, navigating the Indian Ocean alone when his sailing boat strikes a floating cargo container, ripping a hole in the hull and beginning a series of events that will test his endurance to the limits.

As water rushes into the boat, his radio and navigational equipment are damaged, cutting off any contact from the outside world and leaving him utterly dependent on his own sailing skills and resourcefulness.

He meets each setback with ingenuity, calmness and a strength that belies his age. His weather-worn face rarely registers alarm or fear even when faced with his own mortality. At 77, this could easily be the performance of his career and a Best Actor Oscar nomination is almost inevitable.

All is Lost is a hugely powerful film, and distinguishes itself from most Hollywood films by not providing any back story for its lead character. Instead, it relies totally on Redford's honest and restrained performance and the actions he undertakes for survival.

This is a visceral, riveting and unique cinematic experience that underscores the power of the human survival instinct, against all the odds.

Sarah McIntyre