Film, Action and adventure
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The sea steals the show in Baltasar Kormákur's intimate disaster movie.

Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur loves grappling with nature. On ‘Everest’, the self-confessed danger junkie climbed to 24,000ft to scout for locations, then took Jake Gyllenhaal and Josh Brolin most of the way up to shoot it. Now the former yacht racer takes on the ocean for his most white-knuckle ride yet.

It’s no surprise that ‘Adrift’, based on a true story and shot over a series of gruelling 14-hour days at sea, is so thoroughly in thrall to the elements – water, specifically. In 1983, Tami Oldham and her fiancé Richard Sharp set sail from Tahiti to San Diego, only to run smack into a category four hurricane which all but destroyed their yacht. Kormákur’s account begins in the struggle for survival that ensued, before flipping back with flashbacks of the burgeoning romance between Tami (Shailene Woodley) and Richard (Sam Claflin). For a while, it’s as flat as the water – these actors are warm and watchable, but it’s hardly one of cinema’s great love stories – although Kormákur’s shots of the great expanse of ocean do provide a breathtaking backdrop.

Things quickly pick up when it gets bumpy. As the storm hits, its rumbling booms at stomach-churning levels from the cinema speakers. To adopt the old cliché, the ocean isn’t just a character in this film – it’s the best one. Kormákur’s films pit humans against the elements, but his real interest often seems to lie with the latter. Hopefully he’ll get a script that serves both sides next time. 

By: Alex Godfrey



Release details

Release date:
Friday June 29 2018
96 mins

Cast and crew

Baltasar Kormákur
Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell, David Branson Smith
Shailene Woodley
Sam Claflin

Users say

Average User Rating

4 / 5

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2 people listening

I assumed this movie would be a rip-off of Open Water (where a group of friends are stuck out at sea in shark infested water, unable to get back onto their boat), but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Firstly, this is a true story- and both leads actually look very much like the people they’re portraying- Tami and Richard- who are caught in a massive storm in the middle of the sea after sailing for 6 months. The boat is badly damaged and survival seems impossible.

The acting is really good and sympathetic, the movie is shot well, and the CGI is realistic.

The film is part harrowing-story-of-survival, part love story. I like the balance between the boat scenes being intercepted with flash backs to how the two met and fell in love.

I was engaged the whole way through and would see it again, although it should only be seen on the big screen!