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Return To Paradise [DVD]

Vince Vaughn , Anne Heche , Joseph Ruben    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
Price: 5.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Return To Paradise [DVD] + Brokedown Palace [1999] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, Joaquin Phoenix, David Conrad, Jada Pinkett Smith
  • Directors: Joseph Ruben
  • Producers: Alain Bernheim, Steve Golin
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Jan 2006
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CCE20A
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,493 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



In Malaysia, three young Americans with little else in common are united in a shared enthusiasm for beer, women, and righteous hashish. Eventually, "Sheriff" (Vince Vaughn) and Tony (David Conrad) head back to New York. Lewis (Joaquin Phoenix), a spacey but good-hearted sort, stays on with the notion of helping save the orangutans. Two years later, a brassy lawyer (Anne Heche) shows up in Manhattan with the news that her client, Lewis, has spent the interim in Penang prison. Arrested for a prankish misdemeanor they all shared in, he's taking the rap for something worse: the dope stash they left him holding was a fatal few grams over the limit. Unless his fellow Americans return voluntarily to (literally) share the weight, in eight days Lewis will be hanged as a drug trafficker.

Eight days is about as long as Return to Paradise stayed on theatre screens--the victim, perhaps, of Anne Heche-Ellen DeGeneres burnout in the press, or just too damn many movies out there to keep track of. Whatever the reason, it's a pity, because this is one of the most compelling movie-movies in recent memory. The screenplay turns the ethical-psychological thumbscrews with insidious effectiveness, despite the probability that the two writers brought separate agendas to the project--Wesley (Cape Fear) Strick working the complicity of the two home boys (each represents the halving of the other's prison sentence if they both agree to go back), and Bruce (The Killing Fields) Robinson revving his engines for another face-off of implacable East and irresponsible West. And director Joseph Ruben, specialist in serving up B-movie excitement with class-A skill (Dreamscape, The Stepfather), does his sleekest work yet. But the real news is a trio of career-best performances: Phoenix, harrowing as a child-man whose sanity has been all but eaten away by terror; Vaughn limning a fascinating portrait of a man at war with himself, self-interest and furtive decency seesawing in his conscience; and Heche, part cagey poker player, part angel of mercy, mixing strength, delicacy, and desperation with devastating precision. Oscar blinked, three times. --Richard T. Jameson

Product Description

College graduates Sheriff (Vince Vaughn), Tony (David Conrad) and Lewis (Joaquin Phoenix) are on holiday in Malaysia enjoying a hedonistic lifestyle. Sheriff and Tony return to America leaving their supplies of hashish with Lewis, who wants to stay longer in Penang. Two years later Tony and Sheriff are both working in New York when they are contacted by a lawyer (Anne Heche) who tells them that Lewis has spent the last two years in jail for drug trafficking and will be executed in eight days time. The only hope for the accused is if his two friends return to Malaysia and admit that the stash was theirs, even though this may well result in lengthy jail terms.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern day tale of morality 11 Dec 2001
Format:VHS Tape
At first glance, 'Return to paradise' appears to be yet another hard-hitting, near-exploitative film about moral arguments and responsibility. The basic scenario-2 men must decide whether or not to return to Penang to save their friend's life, in turn sentencing themselves to years in prison-could easily have been directed towards the cliche fairytale that we are accustomed to, while the acting talents of those involved would have been wasted. Rather, the director has skillfully created a movie that twists and alternates our emotions as we follow the afflictions suffered by the main characters.
The acting here is unquestionably faultless, with Vince Vaughn giving possibly the finest performance of his career to date. As the morally challenged 'Sheriff', Vaughn superbly masters the complexity of his confused character. Anne Heche is also worthy of praise for her performance, most notably towards the final scenes of the movie. These two actors are in turn supported by an ensemble cast of promising thespians.
However, the real triumph in this film has to be the performance given by Joaquin Phoenix, who, as the doomed 'Lewis', gives an utterly heartbreaking and emotionally devastating portrayal of prison life and the intricacy of human character. Despite the dissapointingly short screen time that he has, Phoenix manages to steal the limelight from all others in the film without being too overwhelming.
The only flaw to be found in 'Return to paradise' would have to be the unecassary romance that develops between Sheriff and Beth(Heche), which slows down the plot with pointless scenes of dialogue and sexual tension. Even so, this relationship fails to detract attention from the final scenes of the movie in which we learn the ultimate fate that awaits Lewis.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Speechless........ 24 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
It has to be said that very few films these days can leave an entire room lost for words, but this is one such film. From start to finish the acting and direction of this gripping tale were superb. I found myself dumbstruck at countless points throughout the film, reeling from the question 'how can this be happening?'. Finally a climatic ending with very powerful acting and an intense soundtrack left no doubt that this is a truly fantastic film.
It shows the moral dilemma faced by two ordinary people when confronted by an unimaginable situation. Do you do the right thing and give up 3 years of your life, or turn your back on a friend? A question I'm sure many of us think we could answer in an instant. However, we are shown clearly here that life sometimes gets in the way of the heroic image we sometimes paint of ourselves.
The acting in general is superb, with a great performance by Phoenix and possibly the best I've seen yet from Vaughn. Anne Heche really shines in this film, notably in the final court room scene. She manages to hold the audience's attention with ease and I found myself really believing the agony she must have been going through faced with this horrific situation.
This is a superb film that is guaranteed to leave you asking yourself what you would have done in the same situation. Buy it and share it. I have no idea why this film performed so poorly in the box office, but one thing is for sure, that you will kick yourself if you miss out on it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What would you do? 10 Aug 2007
By leela
This film is about whether 2 friends will go back to Malaysia to save their friend's life who is set to be hung for possessing drugs that they all were responsible for. If they go back they save him yet have to spend 3 years each in a Malaysian prison.

The film is really thought provoking about what would you do yourself. Its a film about human nature and I found it really enjoyable while being uncomfortable to watch in parts. As someone else said here the content will stay with me for a long time.

Well worth a watch!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A truly gut wrenching movie 9 Dec 2001
Format:VHS Tape
At first glance, 'Return to paradise' looks like yet another hard-hitting, near-exploitative film about foriegn justice , ala Brokedown Palace. The truth is that it unfolds quite differently, bending our emotions and expectations at an alarming rate towards the end of the movie.
The performances are top-notch, with Vince Vaughn giving possibly his best performance yet as the morally challenged 'Sheriff'. When his character is forced to make a literal life or death decision, there is not a single member of the audience who is not thinking, "What would i do if i were him?". Anne Heche takes a change from her usual characters as 'Beth', a surprisingly passionate young lawyer. These two actors are in turn supported by a range of excellent actors, both Amereican and Malasian.
However, the real gem in the stone has to be Phoenix, giving one of the most heart-wrenching performances ever to grace the silver screen. His portrayal of 'Lewis' gives us an intensly emotive view of prison life, and despite his short appearances in the movie he manages to steal the limelight from all others in the film.
The only flaw to be pointed out has to be the romance between Heche and Vaughn, which-while believable-is innapropriate and unnecassary. However even this cliche relationship cannot detract detention from the final climatic scene, which will have the watcher in a state of despair as we discover what fate lies in store for Lewis-will his friends give up what they have to save him, or leave him to recieve the ultimate punishment?
This film will place itself under your skin and will stay there forever.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Published 1 month ago by yvonne
5.0 out of 5 stars must see!!!
amazing film. would recoment it to any onw who likes a true story, would recoment to any one, wont say anymore tho dont want to spiol the movie for you.
Published 4 months ago by nichola
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, thoughtful film
… and very suspenseful. Kept me riveted. Anne Hechte and Vince Vaughn especially good. Highly recommended. Get your kids to watch it before they go backpacking.
Published 4 months ago by oldbillie
3.0 out of 5 stars i fim that i thought was a true story
its not but could be ..its not bad .it shows us humans for what we are .and lesson can be learn from it .other than that its a B rated film .worth buying a used copy as I did .
Published 8 months ago by Mr. A. Beer
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think
Interesting story line looking at friendship and choices with a look at prison life in Thailand from a different perspective
Published 17 months ago by jennifer
1.0 out of 5 stars it was faulty
the dvd kept sticking - and would not move on so could not wtch it - could not be bothered returning it because i bought it at a cheap price -
Published 17 months ago by Mrs J E Singleton
4.0 out of 5 stars Great underrated film
This is one of the most thought provoking film I've seen I saw it a couple of years ago and it stayed in my mind enough to buy it and watch it again and it didn't disappoint! Read more
Published 19 months ago by Mrs. M. L. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Excellent film and a good price. Delivery was prompt and i would order again. Underated film and Vince Vaughan is in serious mode for once. Very very good film. thanks
Published on 11 April 2012 by Someones Mum
4.0 out of 5 stars You'd take 3 years from me but you wouldn't take my word?
Sheriff and Tony are taking a hedonistic holiday in Penang, Malaysia. Hooking up with friend of the Earth, Lewis McBride they have a wonderful time and bonds are well and truly... Read more
Published on 6 Aug 2011 by Spike Owen
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film
First saw the film several years ago, liked it then and glad I now own it. It makes you wonder 'what would you do?'. Could happen to anyone.
Published on 19 May 2011 by Jane Austin
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