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About the film
The Beach is a drama film that was released in 2000 and is based on the book of the same name by Alex Garland. The film is rated and has a run time of 119 minutes.
Richard is having the time of his life travelling around Thailand. When staying in a really dodgy hotel, he befriends the guy staying in the room next door, Bugs. While Bugs is a little bit insane, he tells Richard about an island, somewhere untouched by civilisation. The beach is supposed to be a lush paradise, a place of solitary and tropical bliss. Intrigued, along with French travellers Françoise and Étienne, they set off on an adventure to see if this magical sounding place actually exists.
Leonardo DiCaprio as Richard
Tilda Swinton as Sal
Virginie Ledoyen as Françoise
Guillaume Canet as Étienne
Paterson Joseph as Keaty
Lars Arentz-Hansen as Bugs
Robert Carlyle as Daffy
Peter Youngblood Hills as Zeph
Jerry Swindall as Sammy
Zelda Tinska as Sonja
Peter Gevisser as Gregorio
Lidija Zovkic as Mirjana
Samuel Gough as Guitarman
Staffan Kihlbom as Christo
Jukka Hiltunen as Karl
Magnus Lindgren as Sten
What I thought
Until recently, I never knew that this film was based on a book! Now that I know this though, I would very much like to read it. Anyway, on to the film...
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Richard, a pretty self-obsessed party guy looking for a good time while on his travels. While DiCaprio was not the first choice for the role, I do think that he was probably the best choice. Richard was a really immature character who really didn't understand the concept of real life and that bad things happen when you don't listen to the warnings. It is really strange that the protagonist of a film as big as this was someone so unlikeable. I also didn't like his character's development either. Over the course of the film, Richard doesn't really change very much. He stays selfish throughout the whole film and never learns from his mistakes.
The plot, however, was a very interesting one. I loved being able to see the differences between the tourist world of travelling and the places that are left untouched. This is a film with stunning visuals and it really made me want to see more of the world. Even seeing scenes set in a packed and quite insane looking Thailand made me interested in the culture there. However, it was more of the idyllic setting of the beach and the wonderful scenes of remote locations that got me. The Beach is a film that is a feast for the eyes when it comes to place I would want to visit.
While the adventure of getting to the beach was very entertaining, it was the parts where Richard, Françoise and Étienne have finally reached their destination that this film got even better. I really loved the community setting on the beach and getting to know all of the different characters and personalities. All of these different people are what make this film so good and interesting. It was quite strange to see so many people there from different places and I wanted to know more about how they got there and where they managed to get a map from in the first place. What I also really loved was seeing the dynamics of the community and how everything worked under Sal's command.
One thing that I didn't necessarily agree with in this film was the romance aspect. Richard lusts after Françoise, even though she has a boyfriend who is travelling with them. I think that this film could have done without the romance, especially as it didn't matter to the plot. The relationship between Richard and Françoise seems to be a bit of a filler in this story. There isn't even really much time spent on this aspect of the film which is why I didn't see the point of it. The relationship doesn't progress much, the characters do not develop either for better or worse because of it and it wasn't even passionate or entertaining.
While there are things I don't like about this film, somehow it is still one of my favourites. The Beach is a film I can happily watch over and over again.
Main Characters: Leornado Di Caprio, Guillaume Canet, Tilda Swinton, Virginie Ledoyen and Robert Carlyle.
Directed by: Danny Boyle.
This film tells the story of a young, American traveller (Di Caprio) travelling to Bancock, Thailand in search of some adventure and boy does he get it!!!!!
He ends up staying in a grotty hotel and finds a map, assumingly leading to a beautiful paradise island, which he is determined to find. He even manages to encourage some fellow travellers to assist him (one of whom he fancies)!!!
When they eventually arrive at the island, they find it to be amazing. However, things soon become horribly out of control and frightening.
The acting was great and had me sitting on the edge of my seat for ages. Tilda Swinton was very scary though!! The scenery was also stunning and has made me want to experience my own travelling in the future.
A good message emerges that everyone should find their own paradise.
Overall, a film I would definitely recommend!
- Cast/Credits -
- Story -
An American tourist called Richard is travelling in Thailand when he's told of an urban legend about a hidden paradise island which has the most perfect beach and all the dope you could ever want etc. He ends up with a map to this fabled place after a junkie, whom had told him of this legend, dies in his hotel and he tells a couple of French tourists about it, deciding to try and track down this fabled paradise but is all as it seems? what happens once they get there, can life really be that good?
- Thoughts & Opinions -
This is a movie that would, I imagine, have been well worth seeing on the big screen and if you have a larger size TV screen then this should make a difference in terms of the atmosphere of the movie, its pretty engrossing and there are a few large scale landscape shots which would have a bigger impact the larger the screen you view it on.
The story isn't really all that original but it still seemed a decent enough movie and the fact that the characters were quite intriguing and had their own stories and different personalities definitely helped make it more memorable. The soundtrack is also quite memorable, most of the tracks are dance or trance oriented, with a paradise type feel to it I suppose (their summer-y type tracks that you would perhaps hear at clubs abroad during the summer, or would have when it came out).
DiCaprio gives quite a good performance as a typically smug American tourist who is of course naive but yet full of belief about tracking down and becoming a part of this hidden community. His character showcases a variety of different emotions and moods which are quite convincing.
Tilda Swintons character, Sal, is one of note, being the head of this apparent beach paradise community, she makes it her sole aim to keep the community secret and thriving, being so seriously about it that it could be seen as a little over the top perhaps. She's quite a headstrong character, someone who isn't afraid to take charge and make tough decisions.
Robert Carlyle also plays a character of particular importance as far as the story goes, although we never learn what his true identity was but his passport names him as Daffy Duck, so he's referred to as Daffy. The scenes with him in the hotel at the start of the movie are quite dark and disturbing and yes this movie is definitely not for the younger generation, having a 15 rating which is more than fair in my opinion, given the pretty strong language used as well as drug references (including scenes of people smoking weed) and some violence/bloody scenes.
In some parts of the movie, its narrated by DiCaprio who appears to be reflecting back on what happened at the time your watching, as if the movie is his autobiography and he's reading it back to you and then the narration fades shortly after it starts. I guess it is quite a reflective movie, with him warning about the reality of such a concept as paradise and so on, so there is perhaps a more serious side to it than just a few tourists stumbling on some great place and making the most of it.
One other quick mention - a slight criticism is the romantic element of the movie, with DiCaprios character Richard being attracted to Francoise, which was just so cheesy, I wasn't too keen on that, it seemed like they had to fit that in because no such movie with such a main actor would be complete unless there was a love interest angle on it and her character wasn't really developed enough, I didn't feel it quite worked somehow.
- Would I Recommend It? -
Yes, I think this is a movie thats worth watching, if you like the sound of it and know what kind of movie it is and your ok with that then check it out. It won't suit everyone of course (few movies do, I suppose) but its quite enthralling with some interesting characters, good cinematography and decent performances and it may have a moral or two in there that may make you think, although it isn't a movie that you particularly need to have your thinking cap on for as such. Its a pretty good movie but at the same time I wouldn't say that its entirely original and some people, if your picky, may be turned off by one or two potential stereotypes but otherwise its a good movie thats worth a watch.
May I also say, on a rather off topic/random note, with the humidity we've had here, I felt as if I were in Thailand while watching the movie here - I could have really done with some air conditioning in the house yesterday evening lol! perhaps that added to why I felt it was so engrossing, it was as if I was there - or not but it was certainly blooming humid and im sure it is where the movie was set too! (at least there's likely to be a nice sea breeze at the beach though - hah)...
I hope you found my review useful, thanks for reading it and for any and all r/r/c's. This review is also posted on Ciao UK under the same username.
This is the ultimate movie for any travellers who always dreamed of taking that little step further into the unknown.
It follows Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) on his travels to Thailand. Initially in the backpackers mecca of Khao San Road in Bangkok, he soon finds reason to venture out even further into all that is exotic and foreign, travelling southwards through Thailand with a French couple and with only the guidance of a vague map that a man named Daffy had given to him back in Bangkok. The promise is one of paradise.
After a few more adventures, he and his new friends come upon a secluded island where a secret community of travellers now live. They are invited to join, and sure enough, paradise is found.
But of course, soon enough paradise is lost. Numerous complications arise in camp from infidelity to death, and most important - that of giving up the secret. What follows I will not spoil.
The film as a whole has it's strong points - but it also has some downfalls. The feel of it is gritty. Bangkok and Thailand are filmed in a way which makes them feel even more exotic and strange than they really are. The performance of the lead and supporting actors is strong, while the story is certainly interesting.
It does, as a film, lose it's way a bit towards the latter half. It transforms from a movie about discovery into one about group politics and love triangles. Later, it descends into one about madness and isolation. This shift is not always smooth, but it is generally absorbing and worthwhile.
At 119 minutes it does tend to drag at one or two places, yet the conclusion and resounding feeling is one most people will be satisfied with. For a movie in this unique genre, it is about as pleasing as one would hope.
***FILM ONLY REVIEW***
The Beach was released in 2000, adapted from the novel by Alex Garland by the team of director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge. This is a film that I saw when it came out, at the cinema I believe, I have seen it once since then, and I watched it again just a few weeks ago.
The Beach stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Richard, a young American who travels to Thailand seeking adventure and escape. Once there, he meets a French couple, Étienne and Francoise, and after he is given a map to a legendary paradise-like beach, they set off on an adventure to find it. Needless to say, they do, and find the community who live there. They have a positively idyllic time for a while, and then things start to unravel.
The story of The Beach is uplifting, shocking, horrifying and hilarious. I have never read the book, nor anything else by Alex Garland, but he seems to be quite a storyteller if this film can be taken as evidence. He sends these young people (and Leo DiCaprio's Richard seems very young and immature) off on an adventure in search of paradise, which they find, but soon they begin to learn that nothing in life is as it seems.
The character of Richard is spectacularly irritating. He is so immature, and has no idea about real life or relationships and emotions. I think DiCaprio was a good choice to play him - Danny Boyle has famously claimed the studio went over his head to cast DiCaprio instead of his choice and regular lead actor, Ewan McGregor. I'm a huge fan of McGregor, I love him, but I don't think he would have been right in this role - DiCaprio played the right blend of innocence, naivety and arrogance for the character.
I found the dialogue very stilted in places. I think this is due to a combination of the screenplay and acting. So often Richard would say something that just sounded so forced, like it had been added just to make the viewer aware of some fact. I noticed this with other characters too, but particularly him.
For me the best bits of the film were the introductions we were given to the community at the beach. They were done with humour and a bit of silliness, and despite being set up like the characters were introducing themselves directly to the camera, they seemed very natural. I particularly liked poor Unhygienix, the community chef, who can't get rid of the smell of fish - as that is their staple diet.
From a few early moments of danger, the community's idyllic life soon goes a bit wrong. I started to find that the film made me squirm once this was happening - there was pain, horror, fear, and I didn't find it pleasant viewing.
One later sequence which I remembered as being good from previous viewings, and which I enjoyed again this time, was the computer game sequence. Richard is banished to the woods to resolve a mistake he has made, and the loneliness gets to him a little. He soon starts to feel part of the forest, and lays traps and taunts the local cannabis farmers. At one point he is running through the forest, dodging bugs and his own traps, and sees his life there as a computer game. We see a computer graphic view of Richard as he bounces through forest, seeing off threats. This is a nice lighthearted moment in a film which has become very dark by this moment, and one which stands out for me.
Watching it now, The Beach is very much a film of its time. The music is instantly dateable to the late nineties, as are the characters and lifestyle. The soundtrack is a roll call of late nineties dance, trance and electro, including Moby, Orbital, Leftfield and Faithless, alongside "that" song by All Saints, Pure Shores (which actually I find I still quite like!). As dated as this sounds, it fits the movie perfectly, and anything else would not have worked. One breath of fresh air is the inclusion of Redemption Song, which is sung by the characters.
I was disappointed by The Beach this time round. It was great at the time of release, good a few years later, but not so much now. If you haven't seen it, I would recommend giving it a go, but if like me you have seen it before, I wouldn't advise returning to it - it is a film of its time and best kept there.
Danny Boyle teams up with Di Caprio in this Thailand-based thriller which also stars the always brilliant Robert Carlyle in a small, but memorable role.
Meet Richard (played by Di Caprio), a twenty-something american who has gone to Thailand in search of something different, an escape from the hoards of rowdy tourists who engulf south east Asia and destroy it's beauty and purity. Richard meets Robert Carlyle's character in a backstreet Bangkok hostel and from that point on, his life will change for ever as he goes in search of "The Beach" a place where the tourist vermin have not yet touched, a place of pure beauty, a paradise which could only ever exist in people's dreams. Richard does eventually find the legendary beach thanks to a map showing it's location, but after a while, it is clear that everything is not as it seems and even paradise has it's problems.......
The Beach is a film like no other i've ever seen, it's very different to anything else done by Danny Boyle and I think it is definately worth a watch. Perhaps those who are expecting it to be as good as the epic Trainspotting may be disappointed but thanks to some quality performances from this diverse cast, this is a DVD which is a must-buy for any self-proclaimed film fan.
The Beach was released about nine years ago and remains to this day one of my favourite movies. It is directed by Danny Boyle and stars Leonardo Di Caprio as Richard; a traveller in Thailand who hears of and recieves a map to get to a mysterious paradise island. He decides to search for this place, with two others and this is where the movie really begins.
The movie is extremely interesting and original. Di Caprio is very impressive thoughout the movie, showing true talent. The island is not quite the paradise they thought it would be as they learn of the troubles it is experiencing and there are many twists and new problems that arise for the three backpackers. Richard soon becomes popular, creating both enemies and friendships and the movie is much more exciting than you would expect from what is essentially a drama.
The scenery and backdrops are amazing in The Beach. The island looks beautiful and mysterious, with dense jungle and clear sea.
I would highly recommend this if you want to watch something different from the usual. It's storyline is very interesting and you won't stop watching this due to the curiosity that Boyle manages to create for the viewer.
The Beach is an adaptation of the 1996 novel written by Alex Garland and was made by the same team who adapted Trainspotting for the big screen (Danny Boyle, Andrew Macdonald and John Hodge).
It was released on the big screen in 2000 to a lot of hype from cinema goers, namely because it was Leonardo DiCaprio's first big film in a few years and being based in an exotic land only helped to add to the sensation surrounding it. However, it was largely panned by critics and only earned $144 million worldwide (only!)
The basic premise of the plot centres around a young male backpacker called Richard. He has flown to Thailand in search of adventure, of something new but arrives and is jaded at what he see's. Everything is the same until a drug-addict called Daffy arrives and mentions a utopian beach to him before he kills himself. Richard receives a map with the location of the beach and wanting to go into the unknown, convinces a French couple (Françoise and Étienne) to accompany him.
Rather than mention every small detail about this film, I'll recommend people pay attention to the tagline of the film: 'Innocence never lasts forever.' If you are coming into watching this film and expecting a wet beach drama then you will be shocked. There are drug barons, shark attacks and murder to keep this beach society hidden from the rest of the world so this is not always light-hearted or easy to watch. However, it does have a slightly upbeat ending so hang in there!
There is a fairly well-known cast leading this film and in my opinion, while the film does differ from the book, it is a good adaptation in terms of characterisation:
Richard- Leonardo DiCaprio
Françoise- Virginie Ledoyen
Étienne- Guillaume Canet
Daffy- Robert Carlyle
Sal- Tilda Swinton
Unfortunately there was a big deal of controversy surrounding this film during production. Ewan McGregor was initially signed up to play Richard but due to a dispute with the studio, he pulled out and was replaced. Also part of the beach in Ko Phi Phi Leh was demolished to make it seem more like paradise and this was heavily criticised by environmentalists and the Thai government alike. However, it was cleaned up as it was hit by the 2004 Tsunami and so is back to its original state.
The soundtrack of this movie is very well done. As well as featuring the well-known All Saints song 'Pure Shores', it also features tracks by Moby, Blur and New Order. It was also co-produced by Pete Tong so generally the music fits in with the mood of this world very well.
I suppose my main criticisms of this film come from a prior knowledge of reading the novel. Don't let this put you off though. It is an enjoyable film; a little weird in some places but still enjoyable. There are also some scenes that are a little hard to stomach but it is rated 15 so mild gore can only be expected ;)
At the moment, it costs:
so as you can see, it is not expensive. On the DVD there are also special features which are:
-Cast and Crew Biographies
For under five pounds, I would say get this DVD. While it is not perfect and definitely not to everyone's tastes, it is an adventure, a romance and lets people step into a world which could otherwise be completely unknown.
The film tells the story of Richard (Leonardo Dicaprio) who is a backpaper travelling the world. When in Thailand he is told of an Island which is supposed to be more beautiful then anywhere else and is a paradise that hardly anyone know of. When staying in a hotel he meets Daffy who tells Richard he lived on the island and passes on a map to him of where the island is...before killing himself.
On making his way to this island he meets Francoise and Etinenne a couple who decided to come with him on the journey to paradise.
The whole film is beatifully shot as you would expect because of its location but even though there in paradise there is always some sinister undertone which holds you watching through the rest of the film, desperate to see what happens. It shows you what can happen when searching for paradise and how it is not always as you would expect which is what Richard finds when he gets there...after all if it was such a paradise why would Daffy leave and kill himself? You constantly question this throughout the film and you soon find out.
Some parts of this you will find difficult to watch as I know I did, however this just prooves the exceptional talents of the actors in this film from Dicaprio right down to the supporting cast.
This is definatly a film I feel you should watch it has so many twists and the ending is so unexpected it will make you question whether you really want to find paradise.
The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is an enjoyable film that raises interesting questions about travel. It looks at how a resort, an unknown hidden paradise of an island, stops being paradise when it becomes known and popular. A really interesting concept having had perfect breaks in Poland and the Gambia loving the fact that they were so un-touristy but then thinking everyone should go to these places (see my specific reviews on these countries for more info).
The film starts fleetingly in Bangkok (I am so looking forward to going there myself in September) where Leonardo DiCaprio (Richard) is staying in a hostel and has a chance meeting with Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting, Full Monty). Carlyle, similar to his Begbie role, plays a crazy character who is either drunk or crazy on paradise lost, gives Richard a map to a hidden paradise island.
Richard then encounters a French girl, Franciosse and her partner, Etienne and a slow burning sexual chemistry builds between the two with the current boyfriend auspiciously watching over. Richard offers the couple the chance to visit the paradise island and travel together to it. However on arriving in Phuket the threesome have an arguement and Richard ends up drunk with two American surfers and a copy of the map is made.
The three set off to the island taking a boat and then swimming the last miles to the island. The island is itself stunning and the film shows Thailand off to incredible effect. The setting for the film is the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi Lee near Krabi.
On arrival on the island the couple find the beach of their dreams. On venturing further through the island they find a field planted completely with cannabis plants. Not knowning the dangers the trio walk joyfully through this field until they discover that the field is guarded by heavily armed drug barons. The trio are chased from the field and end up in a small island community of travellers who have set up home on the island.
Up until this point the film is perfect. Beautfully shot and a great view. The characters in the commune for me bring the film down. They are all middle class traveller types who have established roles and a hierachy for living. On seeing the new arrivals the commune are surprised thinking that no maps existed to get to the island.
As the film pans out it is then discovered on a trip to the mainland to get supplies that Richard has made a copy of the map. At this point the utopia of the island falls apart. First one of the group, a Swede, is attacked by a shark and suffers critical wounds. There is a debate over whether a doctor should come to the island for the health of the injured Swede but ultimately a decision is made to allow the Swede to die and the commune is divided and paradise subsequently shattered.
Obviously it is not long before the map is used by other travellers looking to find paradise and this extra footfall on the island disrupts the balance between those in the commune and the drug protecting soldiers.
The film, for me, is great because as someone who loves travel it showcases Thailand really well. The plot is clever in its design (based on a novel by Alex Garland) - the film is not as good as the book!!!
Yer I know Leonardo DiCaprio has has his day and most of his previous film have been about as enjoyable as sticking pins in your eyes- But actually i quite like this film - infact i have it on dvd and have watched it several times!
Its one of them films that have a bit of everything- there is adventure, there is romance, there is a tiny bit of action and some minimul humour.
Basically Leo DiCaprio plays a traveller who is in Thailand on his own and checks into what can only be describes as a pretty shabby hostel. The guy in the room next to his is a little mental and smoke a serious about of green! Any way this guy kills him self pretty early on in the film, but leave a map to get to a beautiful, secret paradise island on the door for him.
Leonardo decaprio decides he is going to find this island and takes a young french couple with him- even though he was ment to be keeping the secret island a secret.
The only way they can get there is to get a boat to a near by island and then swim the rest of the way.
once they get to the island they have to find where the commun is- this isnt easy as there are field and fields of canabis to cross, which are all guarded by men with monkey and guns!
After being shot at and stuff they make it to the top of a massive what fall, and the only way down is to jump!!
Eventually they make it to the beach- where there are whole host of different characters who, the 3 get to know.
There are many story line and exciting twists in this film, and i will recommend getting past the stigma that Leonardo DoCaprio has and watch the film and enjoy it for what it is
The Beach is a movie based on the excellent debut novel by Alex Garland.
Set in Thailand, it is the story of a young American (in the book he's British) travelling to Asia, looking for adventure.
By pure chance, he finds the adventure that he was looking for, the room he decided to stay the night in was next to someone who has once been a citizen of 'The Beach'.
The next day, Richard, the main character, ends up with a rough hand-drawn map in his hands with directions to this secret beach, inviting two other fellow backpackers on his way, they leave for the island.
The story continues, they reach their destination using a variety of means of transport, and a few hiccups along the way.
When they finally set foot on the spectacular 'beach' (in real life it's shot in Maya Bay, on Phi Phi Ley Island, in the Krabi provence of Thailand) it's a sight to behold, and, speaking from my own experience, is almost like it is in real life, apart from there is a small gap in the cliffs surrounding the lagoon, and they moved some sand around to get some shots (sparking a court case from environmentalists that is still going on today, but that's another story). The water really is crystal clear, the sky is that blue, and the sand is pure white.
The film goes on, featuring a token love story, some action scenes featuring sharks, and a bizarre scene which involves the main character losing his mind and thinking he's in a video game, it's not the first time video games are referred to in the film, which to the casual viewer has no significance, but if you had read the book, you would understand this more.
My conclusion is, the book is the real story the writer wanted to tell, the film is a very watered down version to appeal to casual viewers, although it isn't a classic peace of cinema, it does now have a cult selection of viewers in the backpacker community, backpacking in Thailand, it's not a rare sighting to see someone reading the book, or the film playing in the bar, or someone listening to the soundtrack, it's cult following is even shown in the film Bridget Jones 2, two of the characters are reading it on a plane to Thailand.
The cult following is there, but some travellers frown upon the entire 'The Beach' subject it's about a 50/50 split between the southeast asia backpackers, actually, it's about a 10/10 split - the rest don't waste time bickering and just go out and enjoy themselves!
"just keep your mind open and suck in the experience"
- Richard (played by DiCaprio)
The film is going to get three stars from me, the book will get five.
I rented out the beach quite some time ago, to watch during an otherwise uneventful evening in. I'm afraid that my immediate impressions as I sat there watching it were Waaay too much swearing. I know it makes it more realistic etc, but it does make me feel slightly uncomfortable and I dont think there is any real need for quite so much. Anyway, enough on that. The concept and plot was quite inspiring. the fact that these 2 guys thought they had discovered a paradise, but it just turned out to be its own curse and downfall. The basic plot of the story is that 2 guys (one of them played by Leonardo Di Caprio) discover a map to a secret Island, which is meant to be a pure paradise. Excited by this idea, the 2 guys rush off to the island. Of course since it is all meant to be a big secret (in order to retain the purity etc), noone can leave. This in turn adds a slightly disturbing, almost horror element to the film. This is particularly prominent when a few men are badly attacked by sharks and rather then go to a hospital, must stay on the beach in huts to die alone. At one point, the main character ends up having an affair with someone elses wife and after it is later discovered that he had passed the map onto someone else (big trouble here), he becomes an outcast on the Island. It is at this point that the film seems to drop into an almost surreal atmosphere, with the main character becoming like some sort of wild animal in behaviour. I wont explain too much, since I didnt really get it myself. Overall, the film is quite interesting but not really a film I'd have to see again. It did seem to have a negative feel to it, growing stronger as the film progresses, as if things just keep getting worse. Still, its a very clever film and I'm sure it would appeal to others more then me. to be fair, the soundtrack is very good. So all in all, not a brilliant film but worth seeing for yourself.
I like most of the female population was in love with Leo when this film came out. Everybody was still getting over Titanic and The Man in the Iron Mask, both mainstream box office smashes, but when I went to see the beach I was shocked and disappointed. I was expecting a story just out of Hollywood, with romance, excitement and far off exotic places. What I got was a film that I found hard to follow, especially the last section. I am used to watching big box office hits with big Hollywood stars, sure Leo is a big star, but that is the only thing that is good about this film. The film starts of quite slow with the surprise of Robert Carlyle as Daffy, the man with "the map". Carlyle is surprising in the film and is one of the only good things about the film. This is this beginning of the journey to paradise. Unsurprisingly DiCaprio's character, Richard, falls in love with the beautiful, mysterious French woman and invites her and her boyfriend along for the ride to the beach. Of course Richard has to go through all the trouble and angst of not being able to have the French woman because she is in love with her, also French, boyfriend. Well anyway, they get to the beach and things go to plan. They are welcomed into the "community" and get on with life there. Next thing you know Richard has got his girl and there is trouble in paradise. Some people die and then things get, just plain weird and quite unrealistic. There are, I suppose, some quite good supporting roles in this film especially by Tilda Swindon and Robert Carlyle. I assume that DiCaprio picked this film because of the script and the director etc etc. but he was on top of Hollywood before this film came out and after, I feel, he changed his image in his film and I know that all the DiCaprio fans I know turned away from him and went on to Josh Hartnett and the new "Young Hollywood Stars".
Leonardo DiCaprio sought to distance himself from the cloying wholesomeness of his character in Titanic, and his role in The Beach is in many ways a polar opposite. As Richard, a young American seeking to "suck in the experience" of freestyle travel in Thailand, he is a chronic liar, a pot-smoking hedonist, an amoral lover and ultimately an unstable snake in a doomed Garden of Eden. This crazy descent might be expected from the filmmakers of Trainspotting, but The Beach is a movie without a rudder, venturing into fascinating territory, promising a stimulating adventure and then careening out of control.After receiving a not-so-secret map to a secluded island from a stoned-out loony (Robert Carlyle, full of dark portent and spittle), Richard sets out to find the hidden paradise with a young French couple (Virginie Ledoyen, Guillaume Canet). What they find is a tropical commune existing in delicate balance with Thai pot farmers, and before long--as always--there is trouble in paradise. There is trouble in the movie, too, as DiCaprio is reduced to histrionics when the plot turns into a muddled mix of Lord of the Flies and Apocalypse Now, with shark attacks tossed in for shallow tension. Director Danny Boyle attempts perfunctory romance and a few audacious moves (notably DiCaprio's vision of life as a violent video game), but what's the point? Tilda Swinton registers strongly as the commune's charismatic leader, but her character--and the entire film--remains largely undeveloped, and pretty scenery is no guarantee of a laudable film. --Jeff Shannon