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Adrift (Shailene Woodley) - DVD Review


Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

BALTASAR Kormákur follows up his excellent Everest with another real-life battle against the elements in the form of Adrift, albeit with slightly less successful results.

The story follows female sailor Tami Oldham (played by Shailene Woodley) and her boyfriend Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin), who unwittingly became caught up in Hurricane Raymond in 1983 while sailing from Tahiti to San Diego.

The film opens in the aftermath of the hurricane, as Tami wakes up to find their yacht severely damaged and Richard adrift, badly injured but clinging to a lifeboat.

But once the two have got back on board the yacht and attempt to set a path towards rescue, the film splits timelines and divides itself between the survival effort and the story of Tami and Richard as they meet, fall in love and decide to set sail on their ill-fated journey.

As such, it’s as much about the people and their emotional bond as it is a gritty survival thriller.

But while this certainly helps audiences to gain an emotional connection with the characters, one of Kormákur’s creative decisions causes one of the film’s biggest problems. Yet that can’t be revealed without giving too much away to anyone who doesn’t already know the story.

What we can say is that the decision in question is based around a filmmaking device, which once revealed pulls viewers out of the movie to a certain degree. And while some may find it clever, others may feel cheated.

In most other regards, however, Adrift is a good movie, anchored by an especially powerful central performance from Woodley. The actress conveys all of the right emotions, especially during the survival section as she juggles with self-doubt and despair, while maintaining the type of steely resolve needed to possibly stay alive.

Claflin is good, too, often providing a calming voice of reason, while it’s good that Kormákur allows viewers the chance to properly get to know him before he is hampered by his injuries.

Another of Adrift‘s inherent problems, however, lies in the fact that it will almost certainly be compared to other survival thrillers such as Robert Redford’s All Is Lost and George Clooney’s A Perfect Storm – both of which are superior. But perhaps that’s because Adrift follows in their wake.

From a technical point of view, however, Adrift does impress, with the storm scenes emerging as genuinely intense. Coupled with the quality of Woodley’s central performance, these are reasons alone to see it.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 92 minutes
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: November 5, 2018