C
Directed by Danny Boyle
Running Time: 2:00
Rated R for violence, some strong sexuality, language and drug content.

Umm... what? That was sort of the feeling I had when I walked out of The Beach. However that feeling was a lot less severe than the feelings of other people who were in the theater at the same time. I heard comments like "Stupid", and "What the F*** was that!?". I suppose with all the build up (mainly because of Leonardo) people were expecting a lot more. Like a decent story.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Richard. I can't tell you much about Richard because his character isn't explained beyond the fact that he wants something different. No reason given as to why he wants something different, he just does. The movie starts off with him in Bangkok looking for adventure. This adventure immediately comes in the way of drinking snake blood, and it's all downhill from there. He meets a French couple Etienne and Francoise (Guillaume Canet and Virginie Ledoyen) along with a nutcase named Daffy ((Robert Carlyle). Daffy shows him this map that supposedly leads to the most beautiful place on Earth. Well, actually Daffy puts the map on Richard's door before he goes and kills himself. Right then you would have thought something was up, but not Richard. He recruits his French friends to take a trip with him, to find this hidden island paradise. They ultimately find this paradise, but it doesn't turn out the way they had hoped.

Obviously the main feature of this film is Leonardo DiCaprio. It's his first feature since the monster Titanic so all eyes are on him to see if he can carry a movie without special effects backing him up. And I'll say this, he's a pretty damn good actor. But we already knew that from his earlier work. Now he's a worldwide heartthrob who's a good actor. So I imagine there was a lot of pressure on him to deliver. And like I said he was good, but he wasn't good enough to carry this story. I'm still not sure what the point of the movie was. I mean, they get to this island, there are other people already there, they join these other people, some of them get attacked by sharks, people have sex, other people show up and get killed, then they leave. In between the French couple break up, the French girl sleeps with Richard then slaps him for sleeping with the leader of the island (talk about the pot calling the kettle black), Richard stars to go insane (the video game sequence was pretty funny) and then comes back to reality. Honestly, there wasn't much else. Richard did voice overs every so often that talked about life and adventure and excitement, but there wasn't any sense that any of this was important. Beautiful people living on a beautiful island. Should be heaven, turns out not to be. Could have been except for the fact that Richard screwed everything up by leaving a map behind.

OK, so this review is about as non-sensical as the movie. But I really can't find a coherent story anywhere. There was no point to any of this. The scenery was amazing, the acting was solid, the story didn't capture me at all. Let me quote you something I found at the website Cinema1:

"Yet beneath the surface, this heaven on earth is less
than perfect. Personal conflict and petty jealousy
ferment to create a violent rivalry, and a
series of tragic events fragments the community.
Increasingly isolated and disturbed,
Richard finds himself more than witness to an
incident of blood-shed. The dream has become a
nightmare; paradise has turned to hell. Now his only
goal is to leave. But escape will not be easy, for the
beach is a secret place, a secret that some will defend
to the death.
Sounds like a pretty good story, doesn't it? Apparently that was what the movie was supposed to be about. But each of those ideas were just touched upon briefly, then thrown to the side. Had the above quote actually been what the movie was about, rather than just the idea for the movie, this might have been pretty good. Overall I think The Beach had potential. Good cast, stong and popular leading man, a beautiful girl, and great scenery. Sadly none of that can cover for a story that didn't leave any impression on me.

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