Adrift (***) is steady as she goes

Adrift – 2018

Director Baltasar Kormákur
Screenplay
Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell, David Branson Smith based on Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea by Tami Oldham Ashcraft
Starring Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin

Adrift is one of two films in the last 5 years, the other being Unbroken, which portrays the real life story of being lost at sea. Each film has participants that were lost for over 40 days. While this film struggles to find enough to fill up its 96 minute running time, the Jolie’s film actually covers it more comprehensively as only part of its overall storytime.

The story of Adrift starts after the big storm that overturned the boat. We see one participant fall below the sea and the other wakes up in the cabin after being tossed. Protagonist Tami (Woodley) immediately begins a search for her shipmate.

Before she finds him, we’re back in time, at the moment Tami met Richard (Claflin). They avoid a meet cute, thank you, and then start building a relationship.

The film starts building these two points in time. Before long, one understands why the film makers chose to work the story this way. It’s hard to think of finding someone who is starving as a thrilling climax. It feels rather more desperate than anything. So we build on two fronts and the story never lacks for pacing long.

At some point, Tami finds Richard, who is in too bad a shape to contribute at all. She does everything for herself. Seeing Tami fend for herself with both mental and physical acuity is actually inspiring. Woodley shows an extreme commitment to the performance as one might expect from one of its producers.

The film holds a few surprises, and one of them caught me off guard. This can only mean the rest of the film is entertaining enough, I wasn’t searching through more obvious signs.

Overall, the film is a good story. It is inspiring to see people succeed through the gifts God gave them, even when they forgo the giving of thanks. The film’s story makes up for the shortcomings of the effects shots. Give it a chance.

(*** out of *****)

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