Adrift tells the true story of the disastrous voyage of Tami Oldham, (Shailene Woodley) and Richard Sharp, (Sam Claflin). The main plot is split into two narrative threats, the first is the story of how they met all the way up to the disaster itself. The second is everything thereafter. With the former plot thread always being an annoyance. The survival element is arguably the film’s strongest, being helped by a phenomenal performance from Woodley; who really sells the hopelessness of the situation. Claflin, on the other hand, is strongest in the pre-disaster storyline, with him barely being used thereafter. However, his lack of real usage is all to set up a third act plot twist. This the films greatest flaw. The romance and the survival plots feel like they are building towards something, the twist ruins all of that. All the setup is dashed, all the audience investment is washed away. It is the kind of twist that makes you say, “wait, what”, and not in a good way. It does strike an emotional blow, but at a cost to the film itself. The film outstays it’s welcome during the pre-disaster plotline. However, the post-disaster storyline is tense and keeps you guessing as to whether they are going to die or be saved. Due to the fantastic character work, you care deeply about the outcome; that is why the third act bait and switch is so disappointing. On a more positive note, the cinematography is stunning with the views of the ocean and the waves being in equal measure both beautiful and terrifying.
To conclude the film has moments of greatness, however, the end twist seems determined to spit on all those positives and serves to cheapen the overall experience.
Reviewed by Luke