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Review: Norfolk actor Sam Claflin stars in seabound survival tale Adrift

PUBLISHED: 09:52 29 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:46 29 June 2018

Sam Claflin as Richard Sharp and Shailene Woodley as Tami Oldham in Adrift. Photo: STX Financing, LLC/Kirsty Griffin

Sam Claflin as Richard Sharp and Shailene Woodley as Tami Oldham in Adrift. Photo: STX Financing, LLC/Kirsty Griffin

Motion Picture Artwork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur, who scaled the dizzy heights of Everest with Jake Gyllenhaal, shows an equally sure footing at sea with this survival story starring Shailene Woodley and Norfolk's own Sam Claflin.

Sam Claflin as Richard Sharp and Shailene Woodley as Tami Oldham in Adrift. Photo: STX Financing, LLC/Kirsty GriffinSam Claflin as Richard Sharp and Shailene Woodley as Tami Oldham in Adrift. Photo: STX Financing, LLC/Kirsty Griffin

Adrift (12A)

***

Californian actress Shailene Woodley, buoyed the Divergent saga and a tsunami of tears with her emotionally raw performance in The Fault In Our Stars, stars alongside Norfolk actor Sam Claflin in this waterlogged thriller, an extraordinary true story of survival against the odds in the aftermath of a category four storm, which tore across the Pacific in the autumn of 1983.

Wandering spirit Tami Oldham (Woodley) finds her way from San Diego to the sun-kissed shores of Tahiti where handsome British adventurer Richard Sharp (Claflin) arrives on his sailboat, Mayaluga, and catches Tami’s eye.

Peter (Jeffrey Thomas) and Christine (Elizabeth Hawthorne) offer Richard $10,000 to captain their yacht Hazana to San Diego.

It’s a 4,000-mile trek to the place that Tami thought she had left behind but she agrees to accompany her beau.

Sam Claflin as Richard Sharp and Shailene Woodley as Tami Oldham in Adrift. Photo: STX Financing, LLC/Kirsty GriffinSam Claflin as Richard Sharp and Shailene Woodley as Tami Oldham in Adrift. Photo: STX Financing, LLC/Kirsty Griffin

A few days into the expedition, the couple sails into the eye of Hurricane Raymond, which is powered by 140mph winds. Richard is thrown overboard, Tami is knocked unconscious, Hazana’s masts are snapped like twigs and the hull is breached. Miraculously, Tami fashions a makeshift sail, pumps out water and drags Richard’s injured body from the waves.

This tale of survival on the open sea starts in the middle, with Woodley stuck on the hurricane-ravaged hub of the yacht in the Pacific, and rescuing her badly injured boyfriend from the sea. From there we flip back a few months to the couple hooking up in Tahiti.

This parallel narrative means the film has two grand climaxes that it is building towards: the enormous boat wrecking hurricane in one strand, and the moment their period of laying adrift in the ocean comes to an end in the other.

This is an effective and well-mounted tale of survival, though the central couple aren’t the most dramatically compelling. After some unedifying bill and cooing early on, barely a cross word passes between the Woodley and Clafin.

Even lying half starved and battered and beaten in the merciless sun doesn’t seem to put much of a strain on their relationship.

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