Dirs: Morgan O’Neill, Ben Nott. Aust. 2012. 113mins
Here’s a surfing movie with plenty of Big Wave action and gorgeous oceanscapes at sunset, plus some 1970s social history, a ‘vicious bikers v laid back hippies’ subplot and a ‘which brother gets the girl?’ love interest. All these ingredients are crammed into a last-gasp resolution with enough technical skill to make you wish these fresh West Australian filmmakers had narrowed their scope.
With his campervan painted in psychedelic swirls and a NOWHERE FAST destination board, Worthington has solid authority as the photographer/hippy who, fortunately, can confront the baddies when the time is right.
Of considerable international interest is the participation of Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash Of The Titans) who takes third billing as a guru-style travelling surfie. The movie had a disappointing first weekend on 140 local screens.
An opening caption — ‘Inspired by actual events’ — refers to the formation in the ‘70s of Australian surfing brands like Quiksilver and Billabong destined to transform surfing culture worldwide. Here the fictional brand is Drift, brainchild of Andy Kelly (Myles Pollard) and younger, wilder brother Jimmy (Xavier Samuel), who, with the vital help of their sewing-machine-toting mother Kat (Robyn Malcolm), fight unhelpful bank managers, suspicious cops, drug-smuggling toughs and cheating competitors to get their back-shed operation going.
The Kellys had driven 4000 kilometres (2,500 miles) cross-country from Sydney a decade earlier. Indeed, the first 10 minutes of Drift tells their dramatic backstory in effective monochrome, leading to an exhilarating crash-cut to full widescreen colour as Jimmy surfs the first of many mighty West Australian waves.
There is lush location camerawork from Geoffrey Hall (Chopper, Red Dog) and tight editing from Marcus D’Arcy (Swimming Upstream, Tomorrow When the War Began), along with a driving original soundtrack from Michael Yezerski plus a wide selection of tracks that exactly nail the period
Handsome lead and co-producer Pollard gives gravitas to the thinking brother, and Malcolm is particularly valuable as the cheerful, determined Mum. With his campervan painted in psychedelic swirls and a NOWHERE FAST destination board, Worthington has solid authority as the photographer/hippy who, fortunately, can confront the baddies when the time is right.
Production company: World Wide Mind Films
International sales: TF1
Producers: Tim Duffy, Michele Bennett, Myles Pollard
Executive Producers: Joan Peters, Peter Lawson
Screenplay: Morgan O’Neill
Cinematography: Geoffrey Hall
Editor: Marcus D’Arcy
Production designer: Clayton Jauncey
Music: Michael Yezerski
Main cast: Myles Pollard, Xavier Samuel, Sam Worthington, Robyn Malcolm, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Aaron Glenane, Steve Bastoni, Maurie Ogden