Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Both an exemplum about the West’s reaction to the refugee crisis and an exhilarating exercise in pure cinema, Wolfgang Fischer’s taut drama features Susanne Wolff (amazing here) as Rike, a fit and capable doctor who sets out on a solo ocean voyage. After weathering a spectacular literal storm with aplomb, she faces a moral one that turns out to be far harder to master: Rike comes across a sinking trawler full of refugees, radios the coast guard and is told to back off as help is on the way. But, as time passes and the 100-odd refugees edge closer and closer to certain death, her humanity demands a response—which almost leads to her own demise and leaves her with a passenger: a damaged teenage Kenyan boy (Gedion Oduor Weseka) who can’t understand why she doesn’t do more to save his fellow refugees… Fischer’s muscular filmmaking and his decision to give the film a near-documentary feel put us square in the middle of Rike’s wrenching dilemma, making for a film that is impossible to forget.
"This is All Is Lost with a spinning moral compass and a topical dimension that proves even more gripping than its brilliantly achieved visceral action… Fischer, abetted by a rivetingly capable performance from Wolff, evokes… classical allusions in a scintillatingly modern, provocative way, pulling his clever narrative taut through the cleats, and ratcheting the human stakes high as the implacable blue sky."—Jessica Kiang, Variety