Over my many years of watching movies, I have compiled a list of things that I think humans should never do. On that list are things like, never swim in the ocean, avoid going to a cabin the woods alone, and a new one just made it on the list, and that’s never go sailing. Christopher Cross be damned. I’m sure you may say I am taking it to the extreme, but in my eyes those places are just not safe. The good news is at this rate I might not leave my house anymore, but even that could be the wrong choice. The latest entry to the list is thanks to Baltasar Komákur’s ( 2 Guns) who brings the based on a true story “Adrift” o the screen and another reason for me to avoid the vastness that is the ocean.
It’s 1983 and Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) has left home and traveled the world by sea. It is after working as a cook on a schooner that she arrives in Tahiti where her life will take a different turn. Tami has always just gone where the tide takes her and this time it takes her into Richard Sharp’s (Sam Clifin) life. Soon they are spending all their time together and making plans on sailing the world. Those plans though get diverted when Richard and Tami agree to sail a boat to San Diego for a couple who offers them money and a first class tickets back. For these two sailing the open water is appealing and everything is going according to plan until a storm hits them and damages the boat. It is then that the need to survive takes over as the boat stays adrift as its passengers try and make it to land.
Like so many other films of survival this one keeps your attention as you imagine what you would do if placed in this kind of extreme situation. Writers Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell, and David Branson Smith pick the right way to tell this story, which feels more like a book. They do that by jumping from the past to the present making it feel like chapters of a bigger story that are all headed in one direction. While a movie that takes place mostly at sea with just two characters may not sound the best, the presentation and Woodley’s performance keeps if from feeling slow. Focusing on a world that is vast as you would think a movie about a boat adrift in the middle of the ocean would be. That wide open space with no land on the horizon has a scary beauty about it and cinematographer Robert Richardson captures it all. Like with Redford’s “All is Lost” this is a tense fight for survival that is worth experiencing and with its sunning landscape “Adrift” will make you hope that the people involved come out the other side alive and stronger.