Okay - if you plan on seeing this movie, don't read any further, unless you want to know the ending.
This movie's only actor is Robert Redford, who is sailing a small sailboat somewhere in the Indian Ocean. This is how he loses everything:
- A steel cargo container, floating in the ocean, rams a whole in the side of his boat
- Redford manages to patch the hole.
- Finally he finds the radio (and we have been wondering why he has taken so long), but he can only get vague crackles
- There is a huge storm, and the mast is broken.
- Water is a few inches deep in the boat, but overnight it is filling rapidly
- He inflates and boards the life raft
- The boat sinks.
- His potable water is contaminated
- The one fish he could catch was snatched away by a shark.
- Two ships pass him by and dont see the flares.
- He is near death, but sees a boat
- He makes a fire, but soon the whole raft is aflame
- He falls into the water, falling peacefully deeper and deeper.
- All is indeed lost.
- But not really! A light shines down, he swims upward, and we see an arm pulling him up.
So it is clear to me that this is an allegory of a man approaching death and dying. [Redford at age 77 surely must be thinking of these matter.]
I liked the image of him peacefully passing away. I was really angry at the ending!
Not that I wouldn't wish the imaginary best for the character he is playing, but it is too deus ex machina.
One could respond that this is Redford's vision of the ultimate: a benevolent arm pulling one up to the light.
I think a lot of people have this image or love this image. My own opinion is that it ruins the truth of what we actually know: that when you die, you lose everything.
There is part of me, however, that wishes I could believe in the divine rescue. I just don't. Ever since I was a child I have thought that one should not believe something because it is a beautiful story.
Maybe buddhist practice is here, right now, losing everything.