Just because a film is “based on a true story” doesn’t guarantee a favorable review. I say this because the filmmakers behind “Adrift” seemed to think they hit an automatic gold mine with this true-life tale about one woman’s ordeal with the ocean.
Oscar-nominee Shailene Woodley (“The Descendents”) and Sam Claflin (“Me Before You”) are a couple in love and finding their place in the world. Her character, Tami Oldham, comes from San Diego, one of many stops in her diversified life.
Claflin plays Richard Sharp, a slightly older gentleman who hits it off with Tami. They sail around the world together and through a storm to experience the journey of a lifetime. I can’t give away too much more about “Adrift” without ruining the storyline.
Filmmakers have never found a way to make water suspenseful. There is nothing remarkable about shooting a movie on an ocean, lake or any other body of water. For every great movie, like Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece “Jaws,” there are many more that do not succeed. Yet, there are notable exceptions.
One exciting blockbuster water film was 1972’s “The Poseidon Adventure,” where a big-name cast faced dilemmas galore aboard a giant ocean liner. It was a big-budget disaster movie with an all-star cast including Oscar-winner Gene Hackman, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters and Ernest Borgnine.
One recent surprise was “American Assassin” (2017) which had enthralling action sequences that worked. The subplot of that film involved anti-hero Taylor Kitsch
who wanted to bring death and destruction to our beloved planet. His scenes with both Michael Keaton and Dylan O’Brien made the movie worth watching.
In “Adrift,” the antagonist is Mother Nature. The characters spend a great amount of time at sea as their communication devices aboard the boat were destroyed. Tami, a vegetarian, has to eat fish, among other challenges the pair faces in order to survive.
I wanted to like this movie a lot, but in the end I felt it did not have enough positive moments to merit a favorable review.