It's the 1970s in Australia and the Kelly brothers Andy (Myles Pollard) and Jimmy (Xavier Samuel), both in their twenties, have one great passion: riding big waves. They've honed their surfing skills in the sleepy WA town of Margaret River, which hosts some of the world's most challenging and dangerous waves. Knowing how to shape the perfect board, and encouraged by new friends, the brothers quit their jobs and launch a backyard surf gear business. They rethink traditional design, craft homemade wetsuits and sell their wares out of the back of their van. But their new found success is threatened when Jimmy gets mixed up with a local bikie gang.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Not since Storm Surfers 3D have we seen such fabulous waves off Western Australia and such wonderful surfing photography; it's in 2D but you'd hardly notice. So if screen surf perving is your thing, you will revel in Drift. It's a sort of amalgam story of how surf gear culture and business began in the 70s in Australia, dotted with the struggles of two brothers, an unimaginative bank and some spirited hippies.
For all its Aussie sensibilities, the film feels more like an American TV movie of a couple of decades ago, all predictable and perfunctory. And that's despite some fine actors strutting their stuff. The writing's to blame, settling for pat answers to complex questions.
The characters tend to be clichés, but mostly likeable. Sam Worthington as JB is a slightly gnarled loner-drifter with much hair, whose purpse dramatically is a bit vague. Not so is Lesley-Ann Brandt as Lani, the gorgeous husky skinned Hawaiian girl who is both worldly and sexy and supportive and a catalyst. The brothers Kelley, Andy (Myles Pollard) and Jimmy (Xavier Samuel), are the least developed of the lead characters, despite their share of screen time.
Steve Bastoni has great presence as the drug dealing Miller, and manages to shrug off most of the clichés he is given, while Aaron Glenane makes a great impact as the tragic Gus, who is the biggest loser in the film.
More grit and truth in the screenplay would have given the film the sort of wave that it needs to give us a really good ride.
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CAST: Sam Worthington, Myles Pollard, Xavier Samuel, Robyn Malcolm, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Sean Keenan, Steve Bastoni, Ben Mortley, Laura Fairclough
PRODUCER: Tim Duffy, Myles Pollard
DIRECTOR: Morgan O'Neill & Ben Nott
SCRIPT: Morgan O'Neill, Tim Duffy
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Geoffrey Hall
EDITOR: Marcus D'Arcy
MUSIC: Michael Yezerski
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Clayton Jauncey
RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 2, 2013
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.