September 4, 2018  (Web Review)


Universal, 100 min., PG-13, DVD: $29.98, Blu-ray: $34.98, Sept. 4

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

Icelandic-born filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur cleverly manipulates chronology to twist and turn this true shipwreck story into a tension-filled romantic drama. Beginning in 1983 in Tahiti, 23-year-old, free-spirited Californian Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) meets Richard Sharp (Sam Clafin), a suave 33-year-old Brit. Footloose adventurers both, they are immediately attracted to one another. When an older couple asks Richard to sail their luxurious yacht to San Diego (Tami’s hometown)—offering $10,000 and two first-class tickets back to Tahiti—Richard and Tami embark on a 4,000-mile journey across the Pacific Ocean. All’s well until they unexpectedly encounter a horrific hurricane, which badly batters their boat and tosses seriously wounded Richard overboard. Determined to save him, Tami stoically manages to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds: using duct tape to patch a hole in the hull, rigging a makeshift mast, freeing a tangled rudder, and pumping water from the flooded cabin. With the aid of a sextant, Tami realizes that the odds are better if she heads for Hawaii and, despite being a vegetarian, she manages to spear a fish, eating it raw. Adapted from Tami Oldham Ashcraft’s 1998 memoir Red Sky in Mourning, this feels like a somewhat familiar lost-at-sea film, but it is also a reasonably suspenseful seafaring saga. A strong optional purchase. [Note: DVD/Blu-ray extras include audio commentary by director Baltasar Kormákur and star Shailene Woodley, deleted scenes (3 min.), and the production segments “Braving the Elements” (3 min.), “Survival at Sea” (2 min.), and “Journey” (2 min.). Exclusive to the Blu-ray release are bonus DVD and digital copies of the film. Bottom line: a solid extras package for an often-engaging drama.] (S. Granger)