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3.9 out of 5 stars155
3.9 out of 5 stars
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I first viewed this film upon its release and felt that the final third did the film down - and that the voice-over took away from the essence of the story, thus it's average. My subsequent viewings over the years would see me lament about an arcade game sequence and bemoaning that Robert Carlyle wasn't given a more extended role, yet it has become a film that sees me totally on board with director Danny Boyle's production and it's now that I think it puts the story together with poignant precision.

Leonardo DiCaprio is Richard, a backpacker searching for a bit more in life, after a meeting with pot smoking loony Daffy (the wonderful Robert Carlyle), he learns of an island paradise that is everything he has yearned for in his life. Getting there will give him the adventure and danger he craves, because once there it apparently will be the thing of dreams, the perfect paradise cut off from civilisation...

The film is very much split in two, the first half introduces us to Richard and the people he would convince to travel with him to this island paradise, we then follow their journey that is perfect in fleshing out the characters, they come up against obstacles and learn about each other on the way. The second half is well worth waiting for because it's here that the story kicks in to make the viewer think, it's idyllic, it's gorgeous, it's near perfect, but wherever there is a community, there will be personal hang ups, jealousies, power seekers and etc, in short, the surroundings may be perfect but the human condition is far from flawless.

I love this film now, I love DiCaprio's performance, a cocky smart-arse thrill seeker about to get a wake up call is tailor made for him, and he delivers it with a skillful array of emotions. Director Danny Boyle does a great job of juggling the joys of paradise with the uneasy distortion of the various characters in the community, and the cinematography from Darius Khondji is truly beautiful (Thailand locales). The film suffers with the inevitable comparisons to Lord Of The Flies & Hearts Of Darkness, and yes these are fair comparisons, but it doesn't take away from the fact that it's a fine film for the modern generation in its own right, with the core point of the story relevant to all and sundry.

Fans of the novel would prove to be very ambivalent towards this filmic adaptation, but in my book it gets better on repeat viewings. 8/10
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on 27 March 2016
This is one of my favourite ever movies, can't believe this is not on blu ray! It has been shown in hd on tv although parts looked like they needed cleaning up. Can't we have some kind of campaign to get this on blu ray?
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on 6 January 2001
This is a really good film. Very well filmed and the soundtrack is fantastic. The book is much better though and quite different so see the film then read the book (the other way round and you'll be really disappointed by the film - which would be a shame because it is a top film).
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VINE VOICEon 6 February 2006
This is without doubt a great film and one of leonardo di caprio's best performances.
I really do like this film and i don't think it got the acknowledgement it deserved.The acting is great
and the scenery is both spectacular and beautiful.I put myself into the position of Richard when i watch this,thinking you
know if i went travelling and went to the places he does and the situations he gets himself into what would i do.
The story is of an American traveller,Richard (Di Caprio) and his chance meeting with Daffy (a cameo by Robert Carlyle)
in a hotel.Daffy gives him a map of a secret island where paradise can be found and Richard soon tells the story to two
French travellers and they all head of in search of the island,but when they get there the paradise soon turns into a
nightmare and for Richard his mind starts to lose control.
As i said this to me is a more than a cult classic where only a few people loved it.It should be liked by more and for some
reason people don't seem to like to say that they liked this film and they look at you as if you are sad for liking it yourself.
As i said try it for yourself and see.
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on 31 May 2015
Well it's been about 5 years now and still no Blu ray. No one can tell me what the problem is? This is no doubt one of his best films and the soundtrack is fantastic. How much longer do we have to wait. John Cromwell
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on 17 February 2001
I've just read the book by Alex Garland, which I loved, and just rented this DVD to check out the adaptation of the story by the authors of Trainspotting, a movie which I hadn't really fallen for. I was curious to see if the equation 'love the book - hate the movie' would work for this one too, but I have to say it wasn't the case. Yes, the movie does stray from the original story in some points, but it's clear that it's mostly for practical purposes - several characters are condensed into one, dramatic developments occur more abruptly, characterization is less profound. That's obvious with movies from books, and in this case you got to condense a story that's over 400 page long, written in first person narrative, and with some pretty striking touches that are obviously lost in the film version.
But in exchange for these unavoidable losses you also get a lot more than on paper - the striking visuals which pay a more than fair tribute to the writer's wonderful skill with descriptions (director of photography Darius Kondji is a master of his art), the great casting and acting, a cool soundtrack, and more catchy twists in the plot. True, some of the variations from the book are clearly imposed by Hollywood standards - the extra sex and love interest, mostly, and the simplified ending. But they do work somehow here.
The extra features allow you to view the alternate ending as well as lots of scenes that were cut out for practical reasons. If they had been included, it would have been a three-hour long movie (and the Apocalypse Now connection would have been too much!) and most of all, a lot sadder and more subtly disturbing. It wouldn't have worked that well for the box office, and that's not a denigratory comment. After all, in a movie you want to be left with some hope, as the director says in the commentary. So I'm not sure I would have preferred the alternate ending, as it would have looked too grim on the big screen - though it's more truthful to the book and does end with exactly the same words, driving the whole point of the story home a lot harder, and punching you in the stomach, perhaps a bit too much (the violent touch in the alternate ending is not in the book anyway). But all in all, I do like the ending they chose for the screen version too.
One definite plus of this screen adaptation is Di Caprio's performance: forget all teen girls' hysterics and press gossip about him, he's a class actor, up there with the best, though he's got to be careful not to overdo it and become an over-the-top De Niro at such a young age and stage of his career.
Definitely recommended, in DVD the scenes are just amazing. I'm pretty sure Alex Garland must have liked it too - the presence of British film-makers and great actors such as Robert Carlyle and Tilda Swindon is also a way of staying true to the story, and the fact that Richard's character being played by Di Caprio obviously becomes American in the movie doesn't really affect the story. As I said, I rented it, but it would be cool to have your own copy as the thrill of the gripping script doesn't fade out after a second viewing, and the acting, extra DVD bits and views of beautiful islands in Thailand are certainly worth the money.
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on 15 February 2004
I went to see this at the cinema twice and then read the book last summer. I completely agree with Ben Rolfe; Good movie, great book. The storyline in the movie in remarkably different from the book, but the message of the story is delivered all the same. I know some people critise the director's decission to change the storyline so dramatically, and I admit I find some of the changes quite peculiar, but it's still in my Top50 favourite movies.
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on 12 October 2015
Dating slightly, but still a classic, must see film.

(a *lot* of swearing and some gore)
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on 14 April 2016
Such a great film and soundtrack. The reason I wanted to visit Thailand. Hadn't read the book before watching this. Although beware if going to see 'the beach' in Thailand...it's packed with hundreds of tourists so can't get that idyllic photo! Although the place and people are lovely.
Back to the film...Leo is a great actor - the whole cast is fab. One if my favourite films
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... just don't do both, or you may find yourself very dissapointed, as myself and many other reviewers have found. The Beach is a hard film to review. Afterall, do you realate it to the best-selling novel? Or do you talk about it in Hollywood terms? I tried to look at it from both angles...

Thankfully, I read the reviews here on Amazon, so I already had the idea that this would have elements of Hollywood in it. What I didn't realise was the scale of it. Upon starting the film, everything seems in place I guess - Richard out on the town, and then staying the hotel. However, 1 hour 55 minutes just isn't enough time, and it shows as the character development is rushed. And before you know it, the three travellers - Richard, Etienne, and Francoise are in agreement to go to the beach, yet they haven't even exchanged conservations previously... (apart from Francoise helping Richard open his door, and exchange names). The choice of Richard - that being Leo' DiCaprio also shows to have an affect on the book, as the meeting with Zeph and Sammy doesn't have the same effect, as they don't see him as they stereotypical english person.

The travel to the island is also brings out the Hollywood side, as Leo =D= (its easier to type!) shows his shouting and swearing side that is completely unesscary, as the character Richard wasn't really an eccentric perosn as the film makes him out to be. And i'm afraid to say that much of the 'Beach Life' is varied to that of the book. The romance in the book that saw Francoise and Richard have feelings for each other, yet kept them hidden, is re-written. Instead, the producers felt they had to literally 'fall' for each other - the result being them snogging in the sea, and then having sex after.. completely un-nessecary, and not part of Richards true character. And neither is his dialogue, as he goes for the usual cheesy lines "oh man I love her so much, I wish I could talk french" blah blah blah.

The merging of Jed and Sal as one character was risky, and doesn't do justice. I felt the choice of actor was wrong, and the merging of the characters meant she (the final character is Sal.. but with Jeds actions..hmm) has to go on the rice run with Richard. What happens afetr? They end up having more sex. This then turns out to be one of the hot-points of th break up with characters, unlike the book were it was a combination of things. Missing out things like the food poisoning was a blow too, as that was a big event in the camp.

The film ends with the camp breaking up through the guards discovery of the huts. But I won't spoil this 'dramatic' finale to the film. But to be fair, the final scene back in homeland was very well done.

SO, how about the other angle? You've never read the book, and therefore know nothing about the story? Chances are, you'll really love the film. The soundtrack is fantastic on the beach, with the likes of Moby-Porcelain, and All Saints' Pure Shores, which both make the hairs stand on end - just made for island. And on that note, the island is quite breathtaking - white sand, clear waters, lovely jungles - you name it. The development of Richards 'video game' attitute to life is also noted fairly well too. As in the book, he has an adventerous attitude that makes him want to explore, to try things. And one of the things behind his interest in the dope field guards (though not really mentioned in the film for some reason...) is Daffy, who treats it like Vietnam. The 'video game' scene is really well done, and i'm suprised it was included. But its a novelty, as not many films would try it. But as Richard see's death and blood in the real, he discovers its not like anything he imagined, and is captured well as he runs away.

Well, thats the basis of the film from the 2 angles. Anyone who's read the novel will know just how absorbing and imaginative it is. Therefore, all I can say is read the book, and you will see what really is 'THE BEACH'.
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