Leonardo DiCaprio is electrifying in this adrenaline-drenched, tantalisingly seductive thriller from the director of Trainspotting
. Richard (DiCaprio) a young American backpacker, is willing to risk his life for just one thing: that mind-blowing rush you can only get from braving the ultimate adventure. But on a secret, deceptively perfect beach, he’ll soon discover that, as the level of intensity rises and the stakes climb higher, desire grows stronger... and danger grows deeper. Co-starring Virginie Ledoyen, this "journey to the unexpected, full of surprises, twists and turns, love and romance, lust and desire" (Maria Sallas, GEMS
) explores the hidden perils and dark places that lurk just beyond the shores of paradise...
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
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.