Screengrab: A grounded Redford takes to the high seas

Richard Lutz navigates through the dross of the week’s movies on tv to find a sunken treasure

What a pleasure not to type out the word ‘Trump’ for once this week and, instead, dwell in the vineyards of Hollywood.

Without a doubt, the best film  on your crystal flatscreen in the corner of your living room is All is Lost (Wednesday, 9pm,Film4).

It’s a recent Robert Redford movie (2013) about a lone yachtsman fighting fate, fear and the waves as his 40 foot boat slowly sinks somewhere in the Pacific

Redford’s cinematic good looks, at 77, are long gone. This is not Butch Cassidy. His face is knarled, his body a bit lumpy as his character, an unnamed seafarer, wordlessly tries to keep his craft afloat after being rammed by, of all things, a rogue container of tennis shoes. Surrounded by the bobbing and floating crap from this piece of ocean junk, he tries and tries and tries to patch up his slowly sinking yacht. He meets failure after failure. But never gives up. Of course, it’s to little avail as it would be kind of a shortish movie if things went okay.

77 and still afloat

Redford only utters a single four letter phrase throughout this mute narrative and that is when his radio contact fragments and disappears. Then it becomes an epic, up there with The Old Man and The Sea or a watery Myth of Sisyphus.

Redford’s wandering mariner is alone, with no name, with no apparent reason what he is sailing from or to and no known oceanic location except an obscure clue that he is drifting outside a proper sea lane. This is, in effect, a cinematic masterpiece where the storyboard rules rather than a script. It is void of dialogue, an action movie about a desperate quiet fight to live, not to drown with no-one in sight.

Director JC Chandor (Margin Call), creates an intense story and it’s storytelling at its best. I won’t reveal the ending. That would be cruel. But let’s just say the jury is still out, four years after release, what happens in that last crucial frame.

Other marvels of the screen this week on the box include lightweight Ghostbusters (Thursday, Sky Cinema Hits, 8.15am); Cool Hand Luke (Thursday, Sky Cinema Drama, 8.20am) and Minority Report (Thursday, Sky Cinema Sci-Fi, 6am). None of these comes close to All is Lost in sheer movie watching. But a scintilla of faint praise for Sky Movies, anyway, for continuing to put out good movies while many other channels have given up the celluloid ghost.