MRR Review: "Drift"

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“Drift” is the tale of two brothers, Andy and Jimmy Kelly, who kick-start the surf industry in the 1970’s. The brothers face killer waves, killer bikers, and a society that just doesn’t understand. “Drift” is co-directed by Ben Nott and Morgan O’Neill.
2.5

MRR Review: "Drift"

-- Rating: R (language, drug content)
Length: 113 min
Release date: July 2, 2013
Directed by:Benn Nott, Morgan O'Neill
Genre: Drama, Sport

"Drift" is a 2013 surfing drama by directors Ben Nott and Morgan O'Neill. The film tells the story of two young Australian brothers who live for the dream of catching the perfect wave and spending their days on the beach. While the film had a relatively small budget to work with, critics and audiences have heralded the movie for its impressive use of scenery and effects to create a high-quality production.

"Drift" takes off as the two brothers arrive at a picturesque surf town where they move with their mother, who has recently escaped her abusive alcoholic husband. The small family is determined to start new lives and shed the baggage of the past, but that proves easier said than done. Myles Pollard and Xavier Samuel play Andy and Jimmy Kelly, two young men who were born to surf. The brothers begin to explore their new home and enjoy the idyllic surf culture that is a welcome change from their hectic lives in Sydney. As the Kelly brothers grow up, their passion fades into malaise, and they find themselves wasting away the potential they once had.

Determined to do things better, Andy and Jimmy decide to take on the task of creating their own line of surf equipment. Their mother helps by using her sewing skills to create fashionable surf apparel, while the boys set out to create the perfect board. Although the small family business has promise, their path to fame and riches is not an easy one. Sam Worthington comes to the rescue as JB, a fairly successful surfing filmmaker, and he takes the boys under his wings, helping them launch their business and stave off the efforts of a local street gang that seems determined to ruin them.

What really sets "Drift" apart from other films in the surf genre is its setting in the very conservative 1970s. Andy and Jimmy were the pioneers of surf culture as it exists today, and the film chronicles their struggle to gain acceptance and reach a completely untapped market. While major manufacturers were selling surf equipment at the time, the brothers revolutionized the industry by creating gear designed for surfers, by surfers.

"Drift" is held together by solid performances from its main cast. Sam Worthington is compelling as JB, a dedicated filmmaker who is as passionate about surfing as his young protégés. His character fills a fatherly role for Jimmy and Andy, whose relationship with their real father is anything but ideal. JB is a source of encouragement and support, but drama sets in when the boys realize that he is hiding his own demons. Myles Pollard steals the show as the older Kelly brother, who spearheads the entire company. Andy is driven and sharp, determined to carve out a niche for himself and make his mark on the world. Jimmy, while equally passionate about the surf, has considerably less passion for the business than his brother. As the brothers grow up, their differences begin to drive them apart, creating plenty of conflict on both the business and personal fronts. Adding to the drama, both young men begin to fall for Lani, JB's native Hawaiian assistant and companion.

"Drift" is a fun and casual look into a fledgling subculture that would one day take over the world. "Drift" is as much a story about coming of age as it is about surfing, and there is plenty of drama to fuel both plot points. The film climaxes when the brothers find themselves competing in a huge surf competition that could make or break their business and change their lives forever. The competition promises to test the relationship between Andy and Jimmy, as well as Jimmy's dedication to surfing. "Drift" is a powerful yet subtle drama that captures a unique era in the history of surfing culture. The main characters are well rounded and believable, and the supporting cast adds plenty of depth to the film. Surfers may be a built-in audience for the film, but all fans of the athletic drama genre should give "Drift" a chance. From the tension between Andy and Jimmy to their tenuous mentoring relationship with JB, there are plenty of emotional rollercoasters throughout the film to serve as an intriguing backdrop for the plot. Viewers get an inside look into how surfboards are made and just how much work and care goes into crafting the products that are so readily available on the market today. To top it all off, the cinematography does a masterful job of capturing the beauty and raw power of the ocean. "Drift" is the perfect film for anyone in the mood for a laid-back summer movie that features solid character development and a unique plot.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5