Adrift review - Woodley steals the show in Komákur's epic survival drama
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Verdict: a brutal epic well worth a watch.
Baltasar Kormákur's Adrift (2018) is a genuinely pleasant film that mixes intelligent filmmaking decisions and beautiful performances to accumulate in the creation of a decent epic drama.Closely following the writing of the real-life Tammi Oldham, in her memoir 'Red Sky in Morning', Adrift is the true story of Tammi (Shailene Woodley) and her fiancé Richard (Sam Clafin), who are employed to sail a yacht from Tahiti back to Tammi's home in San Diego. Beginning with Tammi awaking amongst the floating debris of a half-sinking yacht, alone and utterly confused, Kormákur quickly sets the tone of a woman desperate for survival. Tammi and Richard endure the terrifying conditions of Hurricane Raymond, a huge tropical storm registering 40-foot waves and winds of 145-knots. Before finding Richard clinging to a lifeboat in nearby waters, Kormákur cruelly cuts to Tammi's initial arrival in Tahiti 6 moths earlier. He quickly establishes a narrative form that follows the telling of two of the plot lines, life before the storm and the survival that follows. By not choosing a chronological narrative form, Kormákur made his first clever filmmaking decision. He allows for the constant creation of suspense, not peaking too early by throwing the characters into the depths of the storm in the opening scenes. Instead he twists the parallel narratives of the harmonious life before the storm and the rugged desire for life after it. Kormákur does however show some signs of heavy handedness by obviously foreshadowing many of the films more dramatic scenes early on. Although the lead up to some of these moments may be made disingenuous by his lack of subtlety, they are, however, saved by the incredible performance of Woodley, which casts aside the need for any sort of build-up in the first place.
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