As the screening of "All is Lost" came to an end, there was a noticeable sigh from someone in the audience.
Most likely a sigh of relief, the belief being that actor Robert Redford's character, the nameless "our man," is rescued from his hellish hiatus at sea.
But the ending of the film is left to the audience's interpretation. When York County native Neal Dodson, the film's producer, quizzed the audience at York College whether they thought the character lived or died, it was a 50-50 split.
"If you think he lived, he lived. If you think he died, he died," Dodson said. "The movie is yours at that point."
Back in town: The 35-year-old Manchester Township man and 1996 graduate of Central York High School was back in York to show "All is Lost," which is up for an Oscar for Best Sound and Editing, at the college Thursday night.
Hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, the awards show will air live at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 2 on ABC.
With barely any dialogue, the sound, done by George Lucas' Skywalker Sound, played a big part in the film, Dodson said.
"Frankly the film was directed in the fashion of an old silent film," he said.
"All is Lost" tells the story of a man's fight for survival at sea after his yacht collides with a shipping container.
Redford, a 77-year-old veteran filmmaker, did not receive an Oscar nomination for best actor — a decision national and Hollywood-based critics are calling a snub.
"But he's not pissed about it," Dodson said.
Redford was awarded best actor by the New York Film Critics Circle, was a Golden Globe nominee and is a contender for several other pending awards.
"All is Lost" is also in contention for several awards, including four nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards, which honor the best in independent filmmaking.
Two thumbs up: Louis and Bill Kulp of Springettsbury Township said they were impressed with the "very suspenseful" film, especially since it was made on a comparatively small $9 million budget.
At 30 pages, even the script is short compared to 120 or so pages for a standard full-length feature, Dodson said.
"It was written as a traditional screenplay but it's almost like a short story," he said.
Bill Kulp said Redford's performance, which included clashes with waves, stood out for him.
"He's my age," Bill Kulp said. "Would I do that? Could I do that?"
Dodson, too, praised Redford's performance, saying writer/director J.C. Chandor had the Hollywood patriarch in mind when he wrote most of the film.
"Only guy we ever sent the script to," Dodson said.
— Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.