Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Film: 'Adrift'

I know that this is based on a true story and all that (as in book by Tami Ashcraft)  but there's very little in this drifting-alone-in-mid-ocean story that we've not seen before. Problem is that once the situation is set up there's little original one can do with it, most of what happens already being fairly predictable. Tumultuous. towering waves - check; sail and mast broken - check; ship or two passes by without noticing - check; radio kaput - check; boat seriously taking on water - check; - though at least there's no predatory, man-eating sea-life this time!

The structure of the film is fairly unusual. It begins with Shailene Woodley ('The Fault in Our Stars', 'The Descendants') struggling to survive alone on this well-equipped yacht which had suffered large-scale damage some weeks before. She and her new boyfriend (Sam Klaflin - 'Journey's End', 'My Cousin Rachel' + 3 parts of 'The Hunger Games') having met in Tahiti, are delivering the yacht to California as a paid favour. The first half of the film jumps frequently, backwards to their burgeoning romance on the Pacific island and forwards to when an injured Claflin is cared for on the yacht while she has to do all the heavy work whilst caring for and feeding him. Then from around mid-point the film stays with the two of them on the boat (until....), drifting helplessly, searching out the wide seas for any prospect of help.   

It's all fairly standard stuff and one doesn't wish to be unkind to the source material which relates to events in 1983. Of course it must have been hair-raising to have actually happened to the participants, something which we can all take that as read. However, there's little that Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur can do to make it an extraordinary tale. If it wasn't true we'd dismiss it as being too derivative.

I could have done without the inclusion of two mood-setting songs on the soundtrack (something I cannot stand! - as anyone who reads my blog will well know by now), the second song being a needlessly extended insertion, for goodness' sake!

Nothing special enough, then, about this film to urge you to give it a try. If you've seen any film about being stranded in the midst of a wet nowhere you've already seen this................5

(IMDb.................6.7 / Rotten Tomatoes................6.2)


  1. I feel that if you've seen one film about someone adrift at sea, you've really seen them all.
    This is a hard pass.

    1. That's exactly it, Bob. One wants to be generous but stories like this really have become old hat.

  2. Hey Ray - just a brief note. I would not recommend this film. The back and forth from past to present almost made me sea sick. And the emphasis on how this couple could not stop smiling at each other displaying their love was overplayed for me in the flashbacks. When limited with what you can do when location is simply a single stage - it is a challenge to keep the story going and the viewer interested. Better films, for me, of this ilk are The Shallows and Blue Water.