Drift Away (Albatros)
What would it take to make the certainties of life suddenly seem uncertain? This is the question asked and unanswered by director Xavier Beauvois’s Albatros (or Drift Away), a film that has a lot on its mind while being unable to express itself all that effectively.
The dependable Jérémie Renier is Laurent, the chief of police for a small, almost annoyingly pretty coastal Normandy town. He’s about to marry the mother of his daughter, and his existence – his very way of looking at the world – has a muted sureness to it. This all changes after a terrible accident in the line of duty, compelling Laurent to go on a journey of quiet reflection – a bit too quiet, all things considered.
Admittedly, Laurent goes through a lot in an emotional sense, and it’s difficult to convey this in a manner that’s satisfying to watch. There are only so many scenes of the man staring mournfully into the distance that can be tolerated before it all becomes a bit indulgent. As a protagonist, he segues from assuredness to self-pity, and eventually comes across as a bit selfish.
The trouble is that it’s all too subdued, and while the nature of the narrative doesn’t suggest high energy, there’s too little to connect with, and the characters who invite empathy don’t have all that much to do, other than react to Laurent’s course of action with a conveniently forgiving attitude.
Jérémie Renier approaches the material in a sober, reflective manner, but, try as he might, the character remains all at sea, both figuratively and even literally at one point. Rather than keep those around him at arm’s length, it would have been far more rewarding if Laurent was able to engage more with his circumstances in a way that’s not quite so detached. Drift Away remains a solid, handsome drama, although it’s far too insular to really linger.
Drift Away (Albatros) does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Drift Away (Albatros) here: