Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald


- Rating: ***

(UK 15/ROI 15, 93 mins, Central City

Media, available from April 29 on on digital platforms, Drama/Romance)

Starring: Cynthia Erivo, Alia Shawkat, Honor Swinton Byrne.

Penniless Liberian refugee Jacqueline (Cynthia Erivo) lands on a Greek island, hoping to escape painful memories of her war-torn nation and the family she left behind, led by her politician father.

At night she is comforted and tormented by fragmented recollecti­ons of time spent in London with her well-to-do British girlfriend (Honor Swinton Byrne).

On the island, Jacqueline scrounges for food and sundries, and sleeps fitfully under the stars.

An unexpected and tender friendship with tour guide Callie (Alia Shawkat) is a soothing balm and inspires the refugee to forge ahead.

Adapted by Alexander Maksik and Susanne Farrell from his novel, Drift is a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit which opens with two footprints in the sun-baked sand being washed away by the incoming tide.

Pacing is languid and the milk of human kindness resists the stifling heat of a Mediterran­ean summer longer than feels comfortabl­e.

Erivo is haunted and wordless for the opening 10 minutes, except for one fondly remembered laugh, and she conveys her character’s trauma in trickling tears and mournful glances.

Drift ebbs and flows between present and past, punctuated by chilling flashbacks to a military coup in Liberia that inflicts the deep psychologi­cal scars.

Singaporea­n film-maker Anthony Chen’s English language debut leaves too much unspoken to avoid the same fate as the footprints.

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