Adrift (12A)

Drama (2018)
96mins US

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Writer(s): Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell, David Branson Smith
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Wandering spirit Tami Oldham finds her way from San Diego to the sun-kissed shores of Tahiti. Soon after, handsome British adventurer Richard Sharp arrives on his 36-foot sailboat, Mayaluga, and catches Tami's eye. She agrees to accompany him on a 4000-mile voyage to San Diego aboard the luxury yacht Hazana. A few days into the expedition, the couple sails into the eye of Hurricane Raymond, which is powered by 140mph winds. Richard is thrown overboard, Tami is knocked unconscious.

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LondonNet Film Review
Adrift (12A)

Californian actress Shailene Woodley buoyed the Divergent saga and conjured a tsunami of tears with her emotionally raw performance in The Fault In Our Stars. In the waterlogged thriller Adrift, she anchors an extraordinary true story of survival against the odds in the aftermath of a category four storm, which tore across the Pacific in the autumn of 1983. Baltasar Kormakur's picture sails into similar choppy waters as the 2013 one-hander All Is Lost, which pitted Robert Redford against the raging elements of the Indian Ocean in a stricken boat. The Icelandic filmmaker, who previously scaled the dizzy heights of Everest with Jake Gyllenhaal, shows an equally sure footing at sea, nimbly choreographing action sequences that quicken the pulse. He reserves the pivotal set-piece for the second half, marshalling digital effects and directorial brio to propel ill-fated lovebirds into the eye of a storm and a towering wall of water that will surely smash their 44-foot yacht to smithereens. We are left in no doubt about the devastation wrought by Mother Nature on a couple, who never thought they would be stranded for 41 days and 1500 miles from salvation...

Adrift. Caption: Shailene Woodley as Tami Oldham in Adrift, directed by Baltasar Kormakur. Photo: Kirsty Griffin. Copyright: 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.Wandering spirit Tami Oldham (Woodley) finds her way from San Diego to the sun-kissed shores of Tahiti. Soon after, handsome British adventurer Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin) arrives on his 36-foot sailboat, Mayaluga, and catches Tami's eye. "Will you sail around the world with me?" he coos, persuading Tami to accompany him towards the infinite horizon. Instead, good friends Peter (Jeffrey Thomas) and Christine (Elizabeth Hawthorne) offer Richard 10,000 US dollars to captain their yacht Hazana to San Diego. It's a 4000-mile trek to the place that Tami thought she had left behind but she agrees to accompany her beau. A few days into the expedition, the couple sails into the eye of Hurricane Raymond, which is powered by 140mph winds.

Richard is thrown overboard, Tami is knocked unconscious, Hazana's masts are snapped like twigs and the hull is breached. Miraculously, Tami fashions a makeshift sail, pumps out water and drags Richard's injured body from the waves. Their plight seems hopeless and Richard drolly likens the incapacitated vessel to "a needle in a blue haystack." The couple's sole chance at rescue relies on navigating a painfully slow course towards the moving target of Hawaii using a sextant and watch.

Adrift rests largely on Woodley and she keeps the picture afloat with a typically engaging, heartfelt performance. Tami's back story is undernourished - we're never told explicitly why she is determined to fly the family nest - but the central romance simmers nicely thanks to on-screen heat generated by Claflin's dashing paramour. The script employs a fractured chronology to conceal the sole narrative twist, which leaves a lump in the throat as a flood of relief churns up unexpected despair.

- Jo Planter

Adrift. Caption: Shailene Woodley as Tami Oldham and Sam Claflin as Richard Sharp in Adrift, directed by Baltasar Kormakur. Photo: Matt Klitscher. Copyright: 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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