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Blu-ray Review: Adrift

August 28, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Based on true events, Adrift documents the story of Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley), who survived at sea for over forty days in 1983 after sailing into a disastrous hurricane with her partner Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin).

The two of them met and fell in love in Tahiti, and were asked by another couple (Jeffrey Thomas and Elizabeth Hawthorne) to sail their luxurious yacht back to the California coast. What they didn’t know is that they were heading directly towards Hurricane Raymond, one of the worst hurricanes in recorded history.

Stuck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with no land in sight and little hope of being rescued, Tami has to use every bit of strength and ingenuity she has to survive on the badly damaged boat following the storm, while also caring for the ailing and critically injured Richard.

Directed by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur, who also mined similar survivalist territory in his previous film Everest, Adrift is an engaging and emotionally effective mix of survival story and character drama. The film utilizes a fractured narrative, cutting back and forth between scenes depicting Tami and Richard’s survival attempts directly following the storm and flashbacks that detail their blossoming relationship beforehand, which both heightens the drama and allows us to get to know and become invested in these characters along the way.

There is a twist near the end that will likely be known to anyone who is familiar with the true story, but it provides a heartbreaking last act revelation for those of us who watch the film cold. The film is anchored by a strong turn from Sam Claflin and a rock solid leading performance courtesy of Shailene Woodley, who also served as producer and impressively carries much of the film on her shoulders.

The Blu-ray also includes a commentary track with Kormákur and Woodley, deleted scenes, and the three featurettes Survival at Sea, Journey Home and Braving the Elements.

Adrift is a VVS Films release. It’s 96 minutes and rated 14A.

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