The Beach

"Good"

The Beach Review


Danny Boyle says he was "keen to distance this movie from Lord of the Flies, which The Beach has been unfairly compared to." Okay, so The Beach is not Lord of the Flies. Lord of the Flies has a lot more going for it.

Many a confused moviegoer has already asked me what the heck this film is about, since the trailer makes it out to be something akin to, er, Lord of the Flies. The movie, based on the novel by Alex Garland, traces the Thailand trip of young Richard (DiCaprio), who in Bangkok encounters a crazy guy named Daffy (Carlyle, who has nary an understandable line of dialogue in the whole movie).

Daffy ends up offing himself, but not before teasing Richard with a map to a remote Thai island, where the perfect beach can be found. So, with two French acquaintances (Francoise and Etienne - Ledoyen and Canet, respectively) from his Bangkok hotel, they manage to trek to the remote paradise.

Turns out the beach really is there. A band of expatriates from around the world (led by Swinton) live there, in fact, and they have an uneasy peace with the local pot farmers across the island, who carry some big guns and a lot of chest-beating anger and paranoia. The arrival of the trio turns out to be good and bad -- but mostly bad.

Writer-director-producer team Hodge-Boyle-Macdonald have put together two of the best films of the last decade (Shallow Grave and Trainspotting), and the limbo bar for The Beach is set incredibly high. Unfortunately, it doesn't live up to their legacy, for a number of reasons.

Titanic fans expecting their dashing Leo are going to be sorely disappointed. In The Beach, DiCaprio practically plays a parody of himself, haughty and aloof, but underneath a coward and a habitual liar. The rest of the cast can safely be shrugged off, with much-vaunted newcomer Virginie Ledoyen leaving virtually no memorable impression.

More than ever before, Boyle relies on camera trickery to tell the story. The problem is that, unlike in Trainspotting, where camera tricks were used to get in the head of a heroin fiend, The Beach uses them to mask defects in the script, which rambles on for 90 minutes without much direction, before diverging into The Deer Hunter territory, with Leo going inexplicably primal. Even Boyle's kitschy life-as-video-game trick has been done before, in Spike Lee's Clockers.

By film's end, the troubled shrugs of our audience would seem to agree with me that no one really knows what to make of The Beach. It will likely appeal to moviegoers more interested in scenery than substance -- just don't expect Beach Blanket Bingo. This is Apocalypse Now: The Prequel.

Like a Virginie.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th February 2000

Box Office Worldwide: $144.1M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Figment Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 19%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 94

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Richard, as Étienne, as Sal, as Françoise, as Christo, as Keaty, Peter Youngblood Hills as Zeph, as Daffy, Jerry Swindall as Sammy, Lars Arentz-Hansen as Bugs, Jukka Hiltunen as Karl, as Sten, Daniel York as Hustler, as Unhygienix, Zelda Tinska as Sonja

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.