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UKScreen Rating:

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Five years after a group of friends enjoy a madcap summer break together, they reunite when Dan (Dane) – flushed with success – treats himself to a six-berth yacht.
Some of them have grown up – James (Speight) and Amy (Pratt) are now married with a baby – others haven’t – Dan’s travelling companion is a sweet and innocent bimbo he’s barely met.
The sailing trip is a big departure for Amy – she’s petrified of water, and insists on a life-jacket just to walk the gang plank onto the yacht – so when the others decide to stop to go for a swim, she’s happy to stay beneath deck with the baby.
But ever the wild and crazy joker, Dan carries her up to the deck…and jumps overboard with her still in his arms.
It’s only when all six of them are in the water, and they can hear the baby crying on the yacht, that they realise that they forgot one simple thing – to lower the ladder.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Two years ago, people were singing the praises of the low budget “Open Water,” about a couple, stranded in shark infested water, miles away from help. This time, we have three couples and a baby instead of a shark – but otherwise, it’s pretty much the same. Oddly though, the lonely and helpless baby generates almost as much dread as the presence of those ominous fins in Open Water.
It’s initially brighter and slicker than its precursor, so its switch to the dark side is all the more apparent, but somehow, being more glossy makes it seem less realistic.
You certainly share their horror and fear when the enormity of their situation dawns on them, but there are many instances when you lose sympathy with them as they seem to make many illogical and downright foolish decisions.
But then, you know they can’t come up with any good ideas, or else the film wouldn’t last long enough.
Having more characters leads it into the cliché-ridden territory of the buddy films where tense situations turn friends against each other and persuades enemies to unite for the greater good, which could be seen as adding depth to the story – or taking you away from the real point of the story.
Another problem is that too many of the characters are unpleasant enough that in any other film we’d want them to drown anyway, or vacant enough that we wouldn’t even notice if they were dragged away by the current, never to be seen again. Fewer, more sympathetic characters might have filled the film with even more dread…but then it would have been Open Water.
Many films seem to come in pairs, when two sets of producers come up with the same idea at roundabout the same time – Volcano and Dante’s Peak, Mission to Mars and Red Planet, last year’s The Descent and The Cave, the two Capote films (last year’s Oscar winner and one doing the rounds in Venice as I write) and these two – Adrift is an example of what it’s like to go second – to fight on regardless when someone else has beaten you to the punch.
It’s not necessarily a worse film, but to win over anyone who’s seen the first one, it has to have something extra, and in that sense, it doesn’t quite make the grade.

opens in selected cinemas nationwide 1st September 2006

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