“Adrift” stars Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin, Jeffrey Thomas, and Elizabeth Hawthorne. Released on June 1, 2018, the film has two sailers struggling to survive after a devastating storm left them stranded in the middle of the ocean.
The film is directed by Baltasar Kormákur, who also directed films such as “The Sea”, “Contraband”, “2 Guns”, and “Everest”. It is based on the book, Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea, by Tami Oldham Ashcraft and Susea McGearhart. It’s really easy to admit that being stranded in the middle of nowhere without any types of communication and navigation tools is the worst part of our lives. But, for the most part, it does teach us how to use our heads to survive. Films that deal with survival provide a heart-pounding experience for people as they continuously wonder whether or not the characters will make it out of this situation alive. This latest drama from Kormákur hopes to continue that trend by retelling a remarkable, yet unfamiliar, true story about love and, you guessed it, survival. I did mention “love” in the last sentence because it is also a romance film. That should prove suitable for those who are looking for a date night movie, but will it be able to attract people outside of its target audience?
As I mentioned before, the film is based on a real-life tale that involves Tami (Woodley) and Richard (Claflin) as they struggle to search for dry land when a hurricane wrecks their ship and left them stranded. The story is told in a non-linear narrative that showcases the relationship between the main characters before and after the storm. I like that the director went with this structure because it helps to balance out the two genres, romance and survival drama, without just showing one in the first half and the other in the second half. Although, I would say that some of the romance scenes tend to drag a little bit despite the runtime being less than two hours. I think if the director went with a linear narrative, then it would make this flaw even more bothersome for those who aren't into romance films with corny dialogue. Yes, this film has a few pieces of dialogue that you would expect to hear from any other cheesy romance film. Despite the love story cliches, this is a nicely-directed film that somehow lacks the emotional core compared to some of the other survival dramas, but finds a way to prevent the story and the characters from drifting off into the horizon. Shailene Woodley was undeniably impressive as Tami because of how she portrays her character as a determined sailer who’s challenged by her own doubts. Sam Claflin also turned in a well-deserved performance as Richard Sharp, Tami’s love interest. The two main leads were really good together and their chemistry with one another kept the film from lacking interest. While the plot struggled to maintain its emotional creativity, Kormákur remarkably envisions the realistic obstacles that the characters are dealing with while being stranded in the ocean, and the hurricane sequence was nicely executed due to Robert Richardson’s cinematography and the visuals. It just goes to show that Kormákur is very familiar with this type of genre since he directed “Everest” less than three years ago, which was another well-executed survival drama that’s far from perfect.
Overall, despite a few wave bumps, “Adrift” sails smoothly into the hearts of romance enthusiasts and survival drama followers alike. It may not impress everyone in terms of the story and the pacing, but for those who have been following the two main leads for quite some time (including myself), it’s a decent watch. Let me remind you again that this is coming from the guy who’s not into the romance genre that much, especially the ones that are based on true events.