In post-Brexit Britain, Koffee (Jonathan Ajayi) and Fanny (Lucie Bourdeu) are two migrants who find each other in a story about love and identity. Koffee, an African migrant who came to the country illegally, is studying English whilst working for a criminal. He completes illegal tasks to can gain citizenship in the UK via an Irish passport. This will allow him to travel across the EU freely. Fanny, a French waitress, is also studying English with Koffee but has an addiction issue with sex and money. The two of them decide to get away to the countryside to be together, but their issues come face to face in this idyllic small town in England.
Directed by Ben Bond, The Drifters is a project with a lot of potential that if executed well, could be a brilliant independent film. In this case, it’s not executed as well as it could be. A film that delves into a lot of pop culture references and tries to tackle multiple issues in 90 minutes. The Drifters suffers majorly due to this. We are not given enough time to be introduced to the characters main issues within the timeframe. Small bits are shown that Koffee and Fanny aren’t living the perfect lives, but the precious running time we have is wasted. Not allowing us to inevitably feel for the characters or relate to them. In the end, we are left with two characters, aimlessly doing their thing. With no time being focused on the talking points that could make this film a lot better.
One of the main aspects that could have worked extremely well is giving more time on Koffee’s story. We see early on that he is being paid very little for working at a car wash. What we quickly find out (when we say quickly, we mean about five seconds) is that Koffee is also doing criminal work for his boss. In this quick five second flash, Koffee goes from washing cars and is then the getaway driver for a jewel heist, which he gets away from. After this is done, a mock newspaper is then spun on screen like the Batman logo does in the 1960s movie. From that point onwards, it’s hard to tell what kind of tone the film is trying to set.
In addition to this, very little is done to explain about Fanny’s past. In a brief conversation with Koffee, she mentions she is addicted to being paid to have sex. This is all blown over very quickly. Fanny’s character development is really poor. The fact that we don’t really know her intentions or why she acts the way that she does only adds to the confusion of her existence. There is one scene where Fanny breaks the fourth wall in a short monologue, which again, has no real purpose to exist, only to further confuse the audience.
Overall, The Drifters is poorly executed. There were some brief short moments where the film seems to concentrate on the characters issues in a good way but ultimately, it goes off track very quickly in the wrong direction. Shoutout to Jonathan Ajayi who portrays Koffee. He does brilliantly well with what he has to work with. Ajayi is the only standout from the film.
The Drifters is released in virtual cinemas from 2 April and on demand 5 April 2021.