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STX FILMS (2018)


Director: Baltasar Kormákur


Starring: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin

Example #87 of why I hate the ocean.


Based on the true story of Tami Oldham and her fiancé Richard Sharp, Adrift tells the story of a couple and their boat decimated by a hurricane in the Pacific Ocean and the fight for survival over forty-one long, brutal days and nights in the unforgiving sea. Sounds like my idea of hell and probably most other people’s also. With Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin pretty much the only real cast throughout, the minimalist approach would surely steer Adrift towards successful shores.

Not entirely. In fact, not at all. Whereas similar offerings such as All Is Lost were captivating and compelling enough to power a movie along, Adrift is simply that – it just floats along until the end credits arrive to save the day. With such a fascinating and tragic true-life story to base events off of, the movie comes across lethargic as opposed to gripping and emotional. The relationship didn’t work, partly because the two characters locked eyes once and then they’re pretty much on the boat together after eating some fish. The on-screen interpretation was utterly void of emotion.


Shailene Woodley really gives her all and Sam Claflin is…there as well. The chemistry is minimal and when the movie decides to throw a twist in, it’s both too late and eye-rollingly predictable as well, even after being heavily telegraphed earlier in the movie. DoP Robert Richardson succeeds in ensuring the ocean looks vast and terrifying and Volker Bertelmann’s score is appealing, they really become the highlights of the movie.


As someone who likes brooding, slow movies for the most part, I just felt empty and disappointed having watched Adrift. The lack of emotion was telling and the long, passive stretches that fill the majority of the ninety-six-minutes runtime aren’t riveting enough to keep the movie afloat, despite Woodley’s best efforts. Bland and testing, Adrift takes a tragic, compelling true-life story and makes it simply boring.


June 30th 2018

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