The reviews aren't 100 percent glowing for the film, but Redford is receiving a lot of praise. Here are some examples:
Geoffrey MacNab, The Independent • "Making this film must have been a grueling experience for Redford, who is now 76. He is on screen in almost every shot. We see him soaked, frozen, thrown around the boat, bloodied and battered by the elements. It's an exceptional performance. He is playing a man who simply won't give up."
Justin Chang, Variety • "Nothing here feels fancy or extraneous, least of all Redford's superb performance, in which the clearly invigorated actor (having a bit of a comeback year with this and "The Company You Keep") holds the viewer's attention merely by wincing, scowling, troubleshooting and yelling the occasional expletive."
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter • "Redford, who can't avoid exuding charisma, plays this role with utter naturalism and lack of histrionics or self-regard. He gives no notion of seeking to impress, as if having no actors sharing the stage with him has mysteriously induced him to let down his guard. Despite his character's peril, most of the time he's performing ordinary, mundane physical tasks that are not particularly interesting in and of themselves; Redford just does them, with no sense of being watched. At this, he is compelling, although his performance reaches its pinnacle in a small moment after he writes a note, sticks it in a bottle and then hesitates to throw it in the ocean."
Andrew Pulver, The Guardian • "Redford delivers a tour de force performance: holding the screen effortlessly with no acting support whatsoever. … His advancing years only add to its subtlety: the difficulties he has hauling down the sail, or righting his dinghy, give his labours a frisson of fear and uncertainty a younger model would not.
Redford and the film also are getting talked about on Twitter, making the movie's Oct. 25 debut in the United States suddenly one of the most anticipated moments of the Oscar season.