There's been plenty of surf films and documentaries over the years, and if you're a surfer or surfing fan, no doubt you've seen them all. Drift is the latest surf film paying tribute to and giving us a glimpse into the Australian surf life when popular surf brands were just beginning.
Set in Western Australia in the early 1970's, Drift is the story of surfer brothers Andy and Jimmy Kelly (Myles Pollard and Xavier Samuel). Andy is dissatisfied with working long hours at the local mill, while trying to keep younger brother Jimmy from a life of crime. With help from their mother Kat (Robyn Malcolm), and childhood friend Gus (Aaron Glenane), they start a surf shop in their backyard garage, making custom-made wetsuits and new surfboards.
Along the way they meet and get inspiration from surfer photographer/filmmaker JB (Sam Worthington) and his Hawaiian friend Lani (Lesley-Ann Brandt). Their success and hard work comes at a price though as they deal with members of the community who are not ready for their innovative ideas and trouble from a violent bikie gang.
The acting is fine all round. Myles Pollard, who also co-produced the film, is solid as the responsible older brother. Xavier Samuel, in one of his best performances, brings charisma and energy to his role. Sam Worthington is excellent. He is perfect as the free-spirited hippie. He seemed to enjoy this role more than some of his recent work and it was wonderful to see him in an Aussie film again.
The film does a great job of bringing the 70's back to life. You gotta love JB's colourful bus and the classic kombi vans! The surfing photography is exciting and breathtaking, and the cinematography by Geoffrey Hall is simply beautiful. The soundtrack, a mix of 70's classics and more recent tunes, really adds to the cool laid back vibe.
Directed by Ben Nott and Morgan O'Neill, Drift is well-paced and there's a lovely balance between the surfing scenes and the dramas of everyday life. I honestly would've loved to have seen a few more surfing scenes. And even if you're not interested in surfing, this honest Australian film will inspire and engage.
The cast and crew looked like they had fun making this film and it shows. A snapshot into the Aussie surf life, it was a highly enjoyable and upbeat movie experience.