Drift – REVIEW

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Drift - How did a wealthy London girl end up homeless in Greece ?

‘How did you become a film journalist?’ we’re often asked or more specifically, ‘How did YOU become a film journalist?’ And many might find themselves wondering how they got to a certain point in their life perhaps none more so (and frankly rightly so) than the bane of modern society – the influencer. They sashay down the red carpet at film premieres, turning heads and often stomachs as the A-listers wonder just who thought it a good idea to invite these peacocking clowns only for the influencer to return home at night and wonder just what on earth has happened to their life. It’s a question in new film, ‘Drift’ that Jaqueline (Cynthia Erivo) must be asking her emaciated self as she wanders fully clothed down the tourist packed beach trying to earn some small change with foot massages.  She has reached a low point in her life her doing her best to avoid undesirables and the authorities, scrabbling around for anything to eat and washing her own clothes in a river. But Drift is not set in Towers Hamlets but on the beaches of Greece and the frequent  flashbacks give us the answers as to why she is there.

That answer is provided bit by bit where we find she is actually a Londoner and a once confident woman who visits her wealthy family in Liberia and where her troubles and trauma begin which is the core of the film and her privileged background has now been reversed in Greece where Jacqueline is now a shadow of her former self. Extremely vulnerable she is at risk from all manner of dangers but begins to form a tentative friendship with Callie (Alia Shawkat) a friendly American tour guide whose openness, bit by bit, breaks through Jacqueline’s barrier of mistrust as her story unfolds.

Cynthia Erivo is superb – all mournful eyes, timid and wary of others and yet the flashbacks show that she was an intelligent and tough woman so when its finally revealed what happened in Liberia ( and it is shocking and a hard watch when it arrives) it is understandable that she is now seemingly irrevocably scarred emotionally and barely surviving.

Directed by Anthony Chen this is his first English language film and the Greek set scenes do sag a little at times but the scene that changes Jacqueline is well handled albeit not an easy watch. Drift never really address the wider issue of mass immigration and that many really are fleeing for their safety, desperate for help and that runs throughout the film is never really addressed – and Callie’s kind hearted character is maybe a little too idealized but its Cynthia Erivo (already with two Oscar nominations to her name) whose performance absolutely owns the film

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We chatted with director Anthony Chen about the making of the film….

Here’s the Drift trailer….

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