StoryLeonardo DiCaprio sought to distance himself from the purity 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's 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's trouble in paradise. There's 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
- Commentary by Director Danny Boyle
- 9 Deleted Scenes
- All Saints Music Video "Pure Shores"
- Storyboard Gallery
- Theatrical Trailers
- TV Spots