A quirky modern-day romance, Benjamin Bond’s directorial debut is a post-Brexit tale capturing the uncertainty that governs people’s lives when they are let down by the systems that ought to support them.
The Drifters is the story of Koffee, an illegal African migrant who works long hours at a car wash. His only moments of respite are the language classes he takes to improve his English. This is where he meets Fanny, a lively, colourfully dressed French waitress. The two find solace in one another in the wake of traumatic pasts they are both escaping from. When Koffee’s boss promises him a passport upon completion of a risky job, he accepts, but the outcome of the operation leaves them in disagreement. The protagonist decides to escape to the seaside with Fanny. They live an idyllic, fun life in a hut on a Devon beach, but their bliss is just a denial game that delays for as long as possible the moment that they will have to face their responsibilities.
Playful and aesthetically charming, The Drifters builds an alluring atmosphere frame after frame. It offers a refreshing narrative style that seems to pay tribute to and blend together the director’s cinematic models. There are some unrealistic points in the plot that can sometimes be overlooked as they provide an aura of magic, but at other times they simply detract from the story. Although it is a perfectly delightful and well-acted film, the characters don’t really come alive and so they fail to awaken sympathy in the audience. The protagonists’ reluctance to reveal themselves to one other and to the world has the effect of making the emotional layer of the narrative seem muted. In a sense, this does reinforce the notion that they are merely drifting through life, but it also takes away in power and intensity as their inner feelings never really transpire.
The Drifters is at its best when it juxtaposes colour and lightheartedness with the grim realities its cast attempt to leave behind. While it is not a masterpiece, it relates a current story of disorientation as if it were a fairy tale and it does so with a fresh and captivating style.
The Drifters is released in virtual cinemas on 3rd April 2021 and on demand on 5th April 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Drifters here: