In 1983, Tami Oldham and her boyfriend, Sam Claflin, were taking a friend’s boat from the South Pacific to San Diego when a hurricane ruined that trip, taking them almost 1,500 miles off course. Their journey to try to make it back to land was turned into book form by Oldham and now translated to the big screen by Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell, and David Branson Smith in “2 Guns” and “Everest” director’s Baltasar Kormakur’s “Adrift”.
Starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin as the young couple just starting their life together after meeting in Tahiti as two globe-hoppers simply going where they day took them, with most of their story being told in flashback. If you are a reader (or listener) of my reviews (even within the last week), I have opined on more than one occasion that storytelling of this matter tends to wear me out by giving the ending of a story away in the beginning. However, in this case I was pleasantly surprised by a script that is nothing short of intense with a small amount of graphic images that fit nicely within the story. With most of the film being done on location versus filming in an oversized tank with brilliant cinematography by Quentin Tarantino favorite Robert Richardson, the sense of despair is taken to an even higher level to the point where even though I stumbled on a couple of spoilers, I was still fully focused on the screen the entire time.
Now stay with me here, because the down side here for me may sound a bit strange given what I have written so far. The most perplexing part for me here was with Woodley and Claflin themselves. I do enjoy the works of both of these actors, but their chemistry with each other just never really clicked. Although I have no doubt of the love that Tami and Richard shared during this ordeal, I just didn’t feel it from the actors representing them in “Adrift”. Luckily, the story itself kept me getting disengaged at bay, and perhaps that may be where the level of disconnect comes from. Is it possible that a script is so good that it overshadows the performances is prompts? I cannot remember a time where that happened on this level, but I also cannot discount the possibility that it exists here.
Overall, I enjoyed “Adrift” as a film, but there is a level of struggle for me when I consider if it is worth multiple viewings. There are some twists and turns that the story takes, but once I knew them, I am not sure I would enjoy this film as much if I watched it again. It does warrant at least one viewing, so do so!