Directors: Ben Nott and Morgan O’Neill
Screenwriter: Morgan O’Neill based on a story in collaboration with Tim Duffy
Leslie Ann Brandt
Runtime: 113 mins.
Australian release date: 2 May 2013
Set in the 1970s in an isolated coastal village between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia, and co-directed by Morgan O’Neill and Ben Nott, Drift is a story about a family’s attempt to launch a surfing apparel business to keep the financial wolves at bay and maintain their laidback lifestyle. It is loosely based on the rise of a number of global Aussie surfing brands that are now sold in places far from sun, sea and surf. The surf scenes in the movie were shot mostly around Margaret River, with additional scenes shot in Indonesia; and it is these surf scenes, directed by Nott, which carry us magnificently through the barrel of a few ‘bommies.’
The Kelly brothers, Andy (Myles Pollard) and Jimmy (Xavier Samuel), launch ‘Kelly Brothers Surf Gear’ to provide work that is more conducive to their personalities and also to utilise their hard-working mother Kat’s (Robyn Malcolm) sewing skills. Because the boys live in such a small community, with commensurately short-sighted small-town ideas, they find it difficult to raise the loan needed to expand their business until a local man decides to help them on their way. They also engage the help of an itinerant surfing photographer, JB (Sam Worthington), and his beautiful Hawaiian friend, Lani (Lesley-Ann Brandt), to help them market their surf gear. But, as always, the road to success won’t be easy.
In all good dramas there are goodies and baddies and Drift’s script makes good use of this mix of characters, even if some of the baddies are a tad one-dimensional. However, it is the performances of the leads, Pollard, Samuel and Worthington that give this Aussie drama real heart. Geoffrey Hall’s cinematography is excellent, the period soundtrack is great and the locations superb, making Drift, at least according to Pollard, “…one of the definitive Australian stories…it’s a story that defines us as a culture and a nation”. More than that, it is as exhilarating as any recent action movie coming out of Hollywood but, in this case, it’s not the result of CGI or special effects - it is mostly as real as Mother Nature herself… and you don’t have to be a surfing fan to enjoy it.