SW Londoner: ADRIFT: Shailene Woodley finds new depths in real-life survival story

Based on a true survival story, Shailene Woodley and Sam Clarin star in the beautifully shot open water movie ADRIFT.

Bright-eyed and free-spirited Tami Oldman Ashcraft, played by Woodley, left her life in California to travel the world and explore. With little money and very few possessions to her name she works enough to fund her travels and enjoys the freedom that her life grants her.

Shailene (Divergent series, Big Little Lies, The Fault in Our Stars) delivers a career-best performance with the emotion and depth she portrays, hardly leaving the screen in this movie.

Sam, known for his roles in Hunger Games, My Cousin Rachel, Me Before You,  plays Richard Sharp, the on-screen and real-life partner of Tami.

The engaged couple spend months sailing around the South Pacific islands in Sharp’s 36-foot sailboat, Mayaluga, when they decide to take a break from their idyllic life to sail a 44-foot yacht, Hazana, from Tahiti to San Diego.

The dream of a happy future takes a detour when the pair get caught in the tropical wave turned hurricane, Raymond, less than three weeks into their journey.

Unable to out sail the ruthless Hurricane, Sharp and Ashcraft fight desperately to keep Hazana afloat in the 40-foot waves and 140-knot winds.

The movie jumps from present time to past events highlighting the couples love and the power and distraction of the hurricane. The non-linear narrative helps to build suspense as moments of romance and hope are then instantly turned-upside down, literally, as Tami and Richard fight for survival when the yacht capsizes.

The film does well to build suspense and tension, director Baltasar Kormákur is no stranger to a survival film having directed Everest and The Deep.

Baltasar knows how to use effective cinematography and a variety of shots to establish the vastness of the ocean and the peril that the pair face.

The chemistry between Shailene and Sam is believable and has you rooting for them as all seems lost.

The film artfully maps out a true tale of epic proportion, with one woman’s fight for survival at its centre.

The film falls into the realm of many other open water and disaster movies such as All is Lost, 2013, Open Water and Perfect Storm.

As this is a true story, some of the audience may very well know the outcome, yet this doesn’t dull the film’s sheer emotional impact as it reaches its rollercoaster conclusion.