Reviewed by: Seth T. Hahne
|Featuring:||Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton, Virginie Ledoyen, Guillaume Canet|
|Distributor:||Twentieth Century Fox|
Almost a toned-down adaptation of the themes of William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” (but with adults this time ’round), Danny “Trainspotting” Boyle’s sometimes frantic, but more often plodding film, “The Beach”, ultimately fails to capture its audience.
A cautionary tale, “The Beach” is reminiscent of and and even makes reference to Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now”; however, rather than take DiCaprio’s Richard to his foreshadowed end, Boyle remedies his condition abruptly and all references to Kurtz are lost and made pointless.
Due to “The Beach”’s erratic pacing (something of which “Apocalypse Now” was also guilty) and saccharine conclusion, there is naught, but eye candy remaining to recommend the film—but to be sure, that candy is sweet. Beyond a beautiful cast (Leonardo DiCaprio [“Titanic,” “The Man in the Iron Mask”] and Virginie Ledoyen) and some truly fun cinematography and editing, there is the island itself: simply breath-taking. The mythic island and its beach lagoon are truly the stuff postcards are made of! Unfortunately, aesthetics have rarely saved films and “The Beach” is no exception.
From a moral perspective, the film centers on tourists in Thailand and so focuses upon the activities for which such tourists are generally known: unadulterated secular hedonism. Boyle’s characters indulge in frequent fornication (with two exceptions, these occur off-screen) and more frequent use of the island’s abundance of cannabis (marijuana). Also, as expected, such characters freely express some of the more colloquial vulgarisms and show only the slightest respect for human life.