This is not an epic movie. But it could be considered one of the best movies of the year because it is the antithesis of how the movies are conceived and done. This is a story that refuses the epic, the odyssey, the dialogue, the expression, the plot twists, everything of how we see the cinema today is not reflexed in this film.
The movie tells the story of a castaway (Robert Redford) of which we don't know the name, the nationality.... we don't know absolutely anything, there aren't any kind of flashbacks or parts of the film where Redford talks about his past or present, nothing. This man has no expression, we have to wait an hour to see a human reaction because during this first hour the film is about a man that follows the logic steps to try and survive in the middle of the Indic Ocean with a broken a sailboat because it collided with a container. Of course, he has to face difficulties a part from the ones that implicitly are assumed when you have a problem like his. But those difficulties aren't shown with epic, we see sharks but they do not do anything, we experience two storms but those storms aren't the main problem of the film.... nothing besides the fact that the man needs help... we don't even know how many days he is expected to live because there aren't clear signs that show us at which point of the survival we are.
The music in this film is precise and good, and used just in the moments where it is necessary but it isn't shown to illustrate the struggle of the man. As for the performance, Robert Redford does an incredible and remarkable job with his character because there isn't dialogue, but besides that there isn't a reaction, it is just a solitary man not panicked by the situation and just doing what he has to do.
However this is a risky way of making a film because it can end being a bit boring or provoke that the viewers distract themselves... because they cannot see anything happen. So this is a peculiar film to value because the way that J.C Chandor has made this film is to applaud his originality and risky bet but at the same tame it must be said that this is not a film people are going to enjoy because it does not have the things to keep the viewer on the edge of his seat waiting for the next thing to happen. This is probably the only film that has ever been so good but at the same time so difficult to recommend because you have no powerful arguments or things to say besides the fact that Redford's performance is amazing but he does it without making noise (literally and metaphorically), without being to acclaimed.... and risky way of making cinema that this director has managed to put in practice in this film.
Really difficult to say if this is a good movie or not, some are going to say it is, others not, this is one of those films where the controversy is totally comprehensible but what it is undisputed is what I just said before.
So I would end up saying: go, see and give your opinion.