Well versed in the art of intrepid cinema, Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur (Everest) has helmed an absorbing film that recounts the true story of a free-spirited couple who, in 1983, sailed directly into tragedy.
Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars) offers a heartfelt performance as Tami, a free-wheeling Californian whose jaunt across the Pacific sees her land in the open arms of an earnest but charming Englishman. Sam Claflin offers a deliciously syrupy performance as Richard, one he's perfected since his roles in Me Before You and Their Finest. Together the love-struck couple take a job to sail a 44ft yacht from Tahiti to San Francisco — a journey that would unfortunately see them sail directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history, leaving them hopelessly adrift in the Pacific with no help in sight.
I went into this film knowing very little of the true events surrounding Tami and Richard and certainly, spoilers would be to the detriment of the film, so avoid them if you can.
That said, it is fairly heavy-handed on foreshadowing certain crucial events. Dare I say it, the story might ha've benefited from indulging in some cinematic embellishments. Beholden to the duty of telling a true story, it becomes quite literal rather than delighting in the coddling arms of cinematic ambiguity. Shame, but I guess if you tell a true story, then the truth you must tell.
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Ultimately though, it is to Adrift's credit, that it stays its course, competently recounting Tami Ashcraft's memoirs and certainly, the sanctity and spirit of her words are intact. Missed opportunities aside, it remains an engaging and haunting tale.
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Running time: 96 mins
Censor Rating: M (Offensive language )
Verdict: An engaging and faithfully told true story.