The Beach (2000) Poster

(I) (2000)

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10/10
Do not miss this movie just because of its low rating
icysky445 July 2005
Recently a friend of mine watched "The Beach" after I told him my favorite quote (i.e. "Never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never cease to be polite, and never outstay your welcome"). He enjoyed the movie a whole lot and told me he hadn't watched it before because of it's low IMDb rating. That's when I decided to register here and post a comment - I hope I help someone else to watch the movie because it is worth a watch. What I personally like so much about this movie is that it is not just plain vanilla. It actually makes sense and can be a starting point for new thoughts and ideas - something I truly appreciate in a movie.
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8/10
The Beach WILL NOT DIE TODAY
ecwjedi14 June 2005
The Beach is interesting in that some people feel that its terrible while there are others who feel that it is an unsung hero of a movie. When I first saw The Beach, back in 2000, I thought it was OK, not as bad as most people said it was. But, just like with A Life Less Ordinary, The Beach grew on me and I had to watch it again. After seeing it a few more times I really started to pick up on what was going on and realized that at the end of the film the viewer has gone through quite an adventure with Dicaprio and co. The acting, cinematography, music, and story are great and hold up after repeat viewings. The Beach is one of those movies that I watch once a year as its enjoyability never decreases. This is a very solid film that will no doubt only increase in its popularity as time goes by as fans of The Beach are quite hardcore. Even though Dany Boyle has said that he is not very proud of The Beach I believe that he's made a gross error and misjudged his work because even after all these years The Beach still has a freshness to it that most films lose while they are still in the theaters. Because of these reasons The Beach will not die today.
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Looks good but is a little hollow when it comes down to it
bob the moo1 September 2003
American back packer Richard is one of millions of travellers all looking for an unique experience. When in Bangkok he meets the slightly deranged Daffy who leaves him with stories and a map to a beach on a remote island that can't be seen from the sea. Taking with him 2 French travellers, Richard sets out to reach the island and finds it inhabited by a mix of people living as a small ideallic community. However internal conflicts rise up with their arrival and a copy of the map that he gave to some friends threaten to expose the paradise community for it's darker roots.

While I know that the critics were a little hard on this film when it came out, my main reason for not going to see it was a feeling of total apathy towards it. I wasn't interested in the story, have never read the book and didn't feel I had to see it because of either the big name star or the famous British team behind it. On television (for free) though, is a different matter and I gave it a go. Firstly the film does look great; I know there are tales of environmental damage to the area but it does look like paradise and is very lush. Director Boyle's direction is visually good too – whether it be drawing style from scenes or contrasting the city with the island or doing imaginative things like computer game style images, he does work well.

The plot is good on paper but isn't as well brought through. Richard's journey and initial settling into the island is involving and interesting but the main plot is really in the second half which is also where it becomes a weaker film. The film clearly is building into a teenage Hearts of Darkness type story where the DIY civilisation leads to cruelty and madness – this aim can be seen in an early scene where tourists sit watching Apocalypse Now in a waiting area. However his descent into madness is less well done and less convincing than Brando's. It all happens to quickly and, although with brutal consequences, it really needed to be seen to be more of a gradual distancing from the norm rather than a sudden leap into an abyss.

DiCaprio is not an actor that I particularly like or enjoy to watch but he is pretty good here. The fact that this film did as well as it did (in terms of box office) is probably mostly down to his star power, but he also gives a good performance. His madness is well portrayed and it's not his fault the film requires him to suddenly switch the way he does. Swinton is better as Sal, her `madness' is more subtle and is continual rather than sudden. The mix of multinational unknowns in the support roles are all good – even if, with so many good looking young people, it does feel a little like a music video shoot at times.

Overall I enjoyed the film even if it never got as involving as I hoped it would. The story lacks punch and point – a fact that can be seen in a very weak ending which was a real wash out in my opinion – but it is still good enough to watch once. The whole thing looks great and DiCaprio's star power and charisma helps keep the audience with him, it's just that the actual story doesn't quite have the rich feeling or depth that the tourist-film location does.
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9/10
Unfairly Panned; A Good Movie
ccthemovieman-125 October 2006
Here is another of those films that got panned by critics all over the place, but I liked the movie and thought it was unfairly criticized.

Two things are not up for debate: the film is entertaining and the cinematography is gorgeous.

Leonardo DiCaprio's lead character is not particularly likable, but that's nothing new for him. He's good at playing the boyish, cocky immature type. He's also good at narration, which he provides here, as he has in a number of other films. In fact, I wish there were more of it in here.

French actress Virginie Ledoyen is a new face to me, and a pretty one. I found her intriguing, and not just because of her face Actually, all the characters were pretty darn interesting in this film and you get a varied group.

The scenery from Thailand is magnificent. By the way, "the beach" that's in this film really exists, just as it's seen here. The story is interesting, too, for the full two hours. My only complaint was that they might have toned down the language, particularly with all the f-words.

Don't listen to those national critics who blasted this. I think you'll be entertained.
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8/10
If you travel, you'll understand
emilyzongqi3712 February 2011
When you travel, you are surrounded by people. Amidst all that foreign intrigue, you are truly alone - an opportunity to be truthful to your instincts.

When you are young and you travel, recklessness and the need to experience drive almost all your decision, well other than budgetary constraints.

It is therefore quite truthful at times to relate to the character who is in search of this ultimate freedom, a place where all your worldly obligations are suspended and irrelevant.

The movie is an irony. Not only externally, that though it depicts the end purity of nature when fox's being sued for environmental damage, but also that any man-found paradise is not free, but with a price and in this case, could be the ultimate price.

I truly enjoyed the movie especially at times the sparks of life's insight and moments of traveller's consciousness that when you are there, in that destination, IT becomes reality and no longer are you foreign and problems arise regardless.

Though the romance is distracting, Etienne, Canet's portrayal is quite the eye candy.

Definitely a watch, but may not appeal to all tastes.
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7/10
Pretty good, despite all the bad reviews I've read
stamper4 June 2000
I went to this one, knowing that it could be crap, but hey, I do not care what others think and once again this way of thinking did not prove me wrong.

This flick is basically about a young twenty who goes away on a trip to Thailand by himself, because he wants to forget his past. There he meets a loony (Robert Carlyle) who gives him a map to a secret paradise. He asks two strangers, Françoise (Virginie Ledoyen who was really great in her first big American Film and good looking too by the way) and Etienne (Guillaume Canet) to come and join them.

After they have found the island they meet an alternative group who lives there and they join them, but after a while problems evolve and a minor 'hell' breaks loose.

This is the plain story-line of the movie, but there is so much more to it, it has a message and that really is what fascinated me a lot in the beginning and at the end. There was a good story there, but the way it was brought over, never really losing the actual message out of sight. Now believe me the direction, the soundtrack and the cast are good. There also is a bit gore, but it fits good in the movie and is not unnecessary.

Yet this film is not flawless, it was good entertainment over all, yes and it was very good in the beginning and in the end, but in the middle when Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) loses it, so does the film and that is a shame. It is just too weird, too long and too incomprehensible (in the sense that the viewer himself doesn't know if it is real or not). It could have been so much better, but I guess it had to be.

NO MUST SEE BUT DEFINATELY WORTH A TRIP TO THE VIDEOSTORE OR TO THE CINEMA AT A DISCOUNT!!!!!!!!

7 out of 10

P.S. Don't agree?????, sue me!!!!!!!!!!! or mail me (see above)
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Not the book, but possibly something more
badmotivator26 January 2001
Warning: Spoilers
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Warning! Contains spoilers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Beach is a Danny Boyle film. In it's first week of release, enough people paid to see The Beach to cover over ¾ of Leonardo DiCaprio's paycheque for his first major role since 1997's Titanic, and it would be safe to say that the majority of those paying customers were disappointed. I believe this is a safe guess because I was one of those people. I have yet to read a positive review of the film and the best my friends could come up with was `It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be'. Sadly, I had to agree.

The thing is, I wanted so badly to love this film. I had read the book and loved it, I had seen Boyle's previous work and loved it (Yes, I even loved A Life Less Ordinary), and I wanted nothing more than to prove to all the nay-sayers that The Beach would rise above the stench of the usual February release crowd and be remembered as one of the best films of the year. I went to see The Beach for a second time. The film may not appear on any year-end top ten lists to vindicate my faith, but on second viewing The Beach became a Danny Boyle film. Those who are familiar with 1994's Trainspotting will understand that this is a compliment of the highest regard. Adapted from Alex Garland's 1997 first novel of the same name, The Beach follows Richard (DiCaprio) an admittedly brash, young American back-packer who escapes to Thailand to find… something. Richard is a fairly vague guy. In fact, all he gives us is his name: `…what else do you need to know?'. Is he looking for himself? For Love? What he does find is Daffy (a manic Robert Carlyle). He finds him on the floor of the neighboring hostel room, with his wrists slit – the blood covering the walls and bed in such a fashion as to leave no doubt that the act was committed with purpose (and joy?). The previous evening, Daffy tells Richard about a beach – a real paradise of mythical beauty. The following morning, Richard finds a map on his door. What is most immediately jarring to anyone who has read the book is the decision to make Richard an American instead of a Brit. This does change a couple of things: for one, we miss the joy of Zeph and Sammy – the two American tourists whom Richard unfortunately (or fortunately) invites to `paradise'.With Richard as an American, we Canadians are deprived of a well-needed slap in the face: In the film, Sammy and Zeph are our stereotypical, arrogant American surf dudes. In the book, the surf act was just that: `It's a protest against bigotry,' Zeph explained. `Europeans think all Americans are stupid, so we act stupid to confirm your prejudices. Then we reveal ourselves as intelligent and by doing so, subvert the prejudice more effectively than an immediate barrage of intellect – which only causes confusion and, ultimately, resentment.' (45) How pleasant it might have been to sit in a Canadian audience and listen as the trap is sprung. Still, the most important thing about Richard, Zeph and Sammy is intact. They are not the only things that lead to the end of paradise, but they are a symbol for all that shows us that paradise is not possible. They are Americans and they are a plague. In fact, the film is telling us that we all are, but for some it may be easier to keep the blame centered on our favourite target. The Beach is not an anti-American film. It is an anti-Consumerism film. And we are all targets. We see this in many telling scenes, not the least of which involves Richard preparing to leave the island for food , taking orders from the entire multi-cultural beach community of what to bring back from civilization to their `paradise'. Here's what's brought into `paradise': Bleach, for an Australian girl who doesn't like her dark hair; rubber gloves, for the Eastern European cook who is tired of smelling like fish and requests soap (`something toxic, something industrial') to solve the problem; and batteries, for those on the island (including Richard) who won't accept a paradise without Nintendo. `Paradise' has its problems. `Paradise' will not survive, because once it is found, it is lost.

As Richard's time on the beach passes, he finds something again. The only thing he ever finds - he finds twice. Daffy begins to appear to Richard in the latter part of the film. Daffy knows why he left the beach and he tells Richard. He doesn't tell us. But we soon understand. Perhaps the most common complaint I've heard about The Beach includes some comment on the studio system and how it destroys the independent genius of someone like Danny Boyle. Maybe it does. It's quite possible that 20th Century Fox wanted Leo, they wanted Leo to be an American, they wanted Leo's character to sleep with no fewer than two beautiful female characters and they wanted a `happy ending'. It's possible that Boyle consented. It's possible that he subverted the whole process. On the recommendation of a friend, I went to see The Beach for a second time and what I saw was brave. What I saw was Danny Boyle winking at me from behind the guise of Leonardo DiCaprio as Richard sits in an internet café, looking at a photo from `paradise' - I saw Boyle's version of Zeph and Sammy. He sprung the trap on us. Upon first viewing, the ending is a cop-out: a flippantly stupid wrap-up that says `it's okay to fall to the absolute depths of self-imposed degridation, because we'll always have a few happy memories to cover the fall'. Richard's words tell us that he `still believes in paradise', but his eyes tell us something else. This is Boyle's triumph: Richard's eyes tell us what they now know– that there is no such thing. `God knows we're lonely souls' begin the lyrics to the song that plays over the closing credits, and we know that Richard is now the loneliest of them all. Danny Boyle's The Beach follows last year's The Matrix and Fight Club, showing us what we don't want to see: that there is no use looking for paradise because there is no paradise left - it's left us – we've repelled it. It is too late for Richard to save his beach because he believes it can be saved from Zeph and Sammy, he doesn't know that the reason it can't be saved is because he's already there – the poison has already begun to spread. But he learns, and we learn as The Beach reminds us of what we all too often are: `Cancers, parasites eating-up the whole ****ing world'.
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Intense and interesting, but contains it's share of flaws.
Michael Carruthers6 April 2001
On a rating scale of 0 to 100; I gave The Beach a score of 72.

Many people have stopped themselves from seeing The Beach because of bad reviews from critics and the story of the crew wrecking an entire island to make the movie. One of those things, in my book, is a fact. They did wreck an island, and for pure entertainment, it's not worth it. Still, the bad reviews from the critics I disagree with, I found this quite a little gem, and if you agree with some of my other reviews, I recommend you don't hesitate when you see The Beach sitting on the drama shelf of your video store.

The wonders of modern technology, like computers, video games, cell phones, pagers and the internet, were designed to make our lives more enjoyable and facilitate communications. Yet for many, the complexity of the digital world is overwhelming, leading to a feeling of unreality…of being discconected. The desire to find something real – to connect with something or someone – is what drives Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), a young American backpacker who arrives in Thailand with adventure on his mind. Travel, he asserts, is the search for experience, the quest for something different. Richard and two friends (Virginie Ledoyen and Guillaume Canet) he meets in Thailand risk their lives travelling secret that is dubbed the beach resort for those who don't like beach resorts. At their destination, Richard and friends are welcomed into a community that lives on the beach. However, they soon discover that beneath this surface, this heaven on earth is less than perfect.

Leonardo DiCaprio declared he was not anti-Titanic when he did this film. And he isn't. DiCaprio shows on his face how successful he is when he did the film, and he is a show-off. But, darn it all, DiCaprio is good because we know he has the potential. He went a long length to do this movie, even director's favourite Ewan McGregor was passed over for DiCaprio, and rightfully so. I just can't picture anyone else playing the role. The acting hotline is also boiling with such talents as Tilda Swinton, Virginie Ledoyen and the masterful Robert Carlyle. Danny Boyle's direction is solid and he paces the film nicely, and the script is adapted well from Alex Garland's better-than-movie book. The film certainly has flaws, some scenes – particularly the ones with the dope growers – are just plain stupid and the film really loses it's feet towards the end, going completely out of control.

Still, The Beach is a film that is ripe for discussion. It features alluring scenery from the small island of Phuket, it has some striking visuals and an absorbing and intense message about finding your own paradise. It's not the best film of 2000, but The Beach remains a worthy attempt.
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10/10
An amazing film
spyqueen12 February 2000
Danny Boyle did an exquisite job on this film. When I first learned that it was indeed a Danny Boyle film I was a bit disappointed that it didn't have any of his "original" cast members... the people that he always works with. When I learned that Robert Carlyle was in this, I was ecstatic. This film has so many wonderful points, I can't list them all. I'm just going to say that "enjoy your dinner Richard" was a classic cinematic moment. A great thing about this film is that it's a wonderful representation of a microcosm of todays society. It shows that no matter how hard you try to escape all the wrongs in life, and all of your daily annoyances, they'll still be there no matter where you escape to. This film doesn't go from beginning to end. It circles. There is no ending because their lives didn't end. Truly a supreme film. It is what one should expect from a man like Danny Boyle. Leonardo DiCaprio gives another amazing performance. It takes a wonderful actor to be able to portray an emotion such as insanity just with his eyes, and he did so wonderfully!
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10/10
Very good
Tasos Tz.27 October 2002
I'll be brief. I didn't want to watch 'The Beach' because of the bad reviews, but when I accidentally came across it while surfing through the channels, I couldn't stop watching.

If you're young and have a thing for interesting stories, you'll love this one.

10/10
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1/10
Did we really expect something better?
Sam-7121 February 2000
Warning: Spoilers
Once again, Hollywood has managed to lower the benchmark for a bad movie even further. This was such a bad movie that I felt myself constantly looking at my watch. I didn't even have to pay for it - but I still felt as though I had wasted 2 hours of my life.

The plot was terrible, and was so over the place that sometimes it just wasn't clear what was happening. The character development was non-existent. It was not clear why the characters did what they did and why they had become what they were.

**** Little spoiler ahead****

And when Leo went "wild", I was totally confused. Why? How? He just sudden;y turned into a savage and started running around the forest making traps and eating bugs. Plus the flash backs to the guy who gave him the map - were they dreams? Drug induced? Or did he have some tropical fever??????

The whole thing was so unrealistic that is was just pathetic. Leo can act, but it seems that all the budget was spent on him, and that they just pulled some backpackers off the street of Bangcok and said "Do you wanna be in a movie?". The only redeeming thing about this film was that the cinematograpgy was pretty good.

****Spolier ahead!*****

Another thing that bothered me was the shark scene. I'm sorry, but a whole lagoon would NOT fill up with blood if a shark attacked 2 or 3 people. Plus the shark itself was HORRIBLE! I haven't seen such a bad shark for ages!! The whole theatre laughed!!! It looked like a piece of painted foam. They should have borrowed the "Jaws" set from Universal or something.

This movie was so bad that it is not ever worth seeing. It was like MTV meets "Lord of the Flies" meets "Apocolypse Now" - taking the worst elements of each. You'd be better off using 2 hours of your life in any other way.
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1/10
Horrible stuff..
carloshache15 April 2006
Entertaining in parts, but as a whole it's pure manure.

This movie is generally about the sociopath Richard( DiCaprio),in his elitist pursuit of pleasure, sex and holiday paradise. He goes to great length in pursuing this, using lies, deceit and violence to get what he wants. He gets to know about a secluded Thai beach, and makes friends with a french guy and his girlfriend in order to steal the girlfriend from the guy.. The trio finds their "paradise" on an island that's part occupied by some armed and crazy Thai marijuana farmers, and the other part; a crazy hippie collective . The hippies are driven by a collective fear of getting their tropical paradise discovered, so they use fascistic methods when silencing members of the society to not reveal the secrets of the whereabouts of their beautiful beach/self made tropical paradise "community".

The hippie commune, is still a slave to consumerism society, and not the alternative society that it is set out to be. Just like Richard, the members of the community goes to great length in defending their right to "fun" and "pleasure", taking a blind fold to the ones that get hurt and killed in their pursuit. The goal of the commune is elitist and fascist, the means of using violence is motivated by keeping out other tourists and people the commune doesn't want out of this beach-resort. Richard makes everything he can to do the same things. He is everything that goes bad with the commune inpersonated.. He's not able to feel any empathy or understanding for anyone, the only time he openly questions the fascism of the commune is when his own life is on the line in order to save it. In other cases he walks away, and still "feels good being in paradise".

Well the movies meaning wasn't supposed to be about this. The director somehow thought that we should see any kind of sympathy and actually care about what happens to Richard, and forgive him for his actions, instead he is the only guy in this movie that is actually disgustingly inhumane. Maybe he thought we should have been blazed by the star quality of Di Caprio. But truthfully, He is nothing more than a stupid parody of idiotic travellers who think they can behave anyhow they like in any foreign exotic location. The unintentional satire is exaggerating this, making him a total psychopath. He is not just a someone who quietly takes orders, the nazi-like leader of the commune; Sal is his peer. The same person, but with power.

DiCaprios character is somebody you would want the director to have shot off early in the movie. Even if it was the meaning of the director to show DiCaprio as a total a-hole, this a-hole definitely isn't good company for the two hours. This is not the only bad thing about the movie. It's slow scenes, extremely bad computer animations and the horribly outdated brit-pop soundtrack makes it an equally painful experience to watch.

The movies ending is nothing but Richard being nostalgic about his beach adventures in his normal-life setting, not having learned any lesson or gained any emotional strength. The viewer is also encouraged to join his nostalgia for his blood stained paradise.

Why go to such great lengths anyway to get away from the mass tourists? Go to the Philipines or any place that isn't as crowded as Thailand. Stupid movie.
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4/10
They came in such of paradise
Cheese Hoven9 July 2011
One of the main problems is the lack of empathy we have with anyone. It is not surprising that we fail to empathise, since the characters have so little empathy for each other. Perhaps the intention is to show a group of middle-class pleasure-seekers as they really are: selfish, narcissistic and cruel, and that their retreat from the world is really an attempt to escape their own petty nastiness.

This is an interesting idea, but director Danny Boyle's technique is not up to the task. Neither is the script. For most of the film, we seem to be watching a travelogue combined with a MTV music video. The self-consciously 'cool' soundtrack detracts rather than enhances the experience. Some cack-handed attempts at drama involve unconvincing arguments which spring out of nowhere, such as the waterfall altercation. The story improves when Di Caprio starts to lose his marbles. This is undermined by Boyle's gimmicky effects, such as the annoying video game sequence.

Of the actors, only Paterson Johnson emerges well. He brings a good deal of likability to the role, something of a relief among the Islanders, and I wish the whole story had revolved around his much more interesting and human character.

In the end,we are left with unanswered questions and a great feeling of dissatisfaction.
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1/10
Read the Book
cat-1220 February 2000
Well - Where do I start... A classic story written by Alex Garland - Destroyed by Danny Boyle & co. It would take a long time to pick my way through the debris of this particular shambles so I shall narrow it down to what I see as the main critical flaws that sank Leo's latest water borne epic 1. The movie has been aimed squarely at a teen market hence you get style over content - The beautiful people in paradise hanging out with a highly commercial soundtrack and a Top Shop tie in on the fashion side

2. The removal of the deep cynicism evident in Garlands novel - Read the book - you will find it very hard to find a sympathetic character.

3. Richards(Leo) fascination with the whole 'Nam pop culture - this is throw in as an afterthought in the last 25 minutes of the film(apart from a fleeting glimpse of Apocalypse Now in the opening reel)and falls completely flat - what we get is comical( check out Leo as he does his best Cat. Willard impressions - hilarious!

4. The love interest. Okay - this I can understand purely for its commercial reasons - it has a bums on seats factor. But it damages a vital part of the book - Richard never gets it together with Francois let alone Sal hence there is an unspoken tension in the air which adds to Richards isolation and his descent into 'Nam paranoia. Enough! If you want the real experience read the book - if you want a very cheap facsimile go see Leo and the gang...3/10
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5/10
Backpackers find paradise on drug island, and will do anything to preserve their way of life.
cheesy_beanz20 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
HERE BE SPOILERS The Silver Screen adaptation of the popular dystopian backpacker's novel, 'The Beach' is perhaps not the most accurate adaptation of the cult book, which has become required reading for a whole generation of travellers. Parts of the original book are hardly mentioned in the film, while whole sections are completely skipped, such as pseudo soldier Jed, whose massive role in the book is written out of the screenplay completely. Just as plot parts are removed, others are added in their place. Richard's unrequited love of Francoise is replaced by a rapid relationship, ending with an all too strange sex scene on between Sal and Richard. Good natured Sal who only wants to preserve village life, becomes a sexual predator, approaching the level of Sharon Stone, as she entraps Richard in her Black Widow clutches. Etienne takes a minor role upon reaching the beach, swiftly giving up Francoise, and becoming a hermit in the forest with the injured Swede. Many of the more powerful (or more controversial) scenes from the book are cut from the movie, giving the feel that the director was reined in by his funders. References to Vietnam are abbreviated to a single shot of a fan, while Richard's re-accuring dreams about Daffy are replaced by a brief sequence toward the end. Perhaps most shockingly of all, the books surprise ending, truly dystopian in it's screaming climax, is replaced by the rather weaker idea of the inhabitants of the beach sailing away on a homemade raft, and joining modern society for Cyber Cafes and coffee. Perhaps if this film can be seen as a separate entity altogether from it's written counterpart, then it would be a pretty good film. Certainly the CGI beach looks pretty good, the acting is of decent quality and the film is not without it's charms. However if even the director Danny Boyle (of 'Trainspotting' legend) is disappointed with what he made, then perhaps this one is best given a miss, and relying on the book to do the talking.
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4/10
As Appealing As A Trip To The Beach On A Rainy Day
Theo Robertson10 December 2007
Ah backpacking across the world . What an exciting thing it is - but only if you're a rare and remarkable person . Travelling all over the world isn't all it's cracked up to be . You might get a one night stand , you might get stoned but to be honest couldn't you have got that at home ? Did you really need to go the ends of the earth for that ? If you're a rare remarkable person you'll also get altitude sickness , suffer dysentery , catch ringworm and under go a rabies scare . You'll have wasted all your money on plane tickets and inoculations and the only thing you'll have to show for it is a small paragraph in the obituary column of the local newspaper after dying from a rare tropical disease

THE BEACH is very similar in many ways . It's based on a well regarded novel by Alex Garland , features Leonardo Dicaprio a megastar after his role in TITANIC and is directed by Danny Boyle one of Britain's greatest living directors and yet it's a film that is difficult to enjoy and it's easy to explain why - characterisation

Take one American pretty boy , send him in Thailand , stick him on an island with a bunch of selfish , unsympathetic people and watch a potentially good film fall apart . Did anyone like the characters in this movie ? Neither did I . I haven't read Garland's novel but I'm led to believe there's a scene where a giant squid is washed up on the beach and the characters eat it only to end up with food poisoning . I would have enjoyed this movie much more if all the characters had died from food poisoning . When you watch a movie and the most likable character is a mad mental foul mouthed dope smoking Scotsman then you know the producers have got a problem

Another thing I had problems with is the way Leonardo Dicaprio's character Richard suddenly turns from inquisitive backpacker into Colonel Kurtz . Something similar happens in another Boyle movie 28 DAYS LATER but at least in that movie you're aware of the character's motive even if it is fairly unconvincing . Here you do find yourself wondering the explanation ended up on the cutting room floor or even if it was excluded at draft stage . Not only that but you find that the characters remain unchanged by events at the end therefore there is zero character development

Danny Boyle has said that he makes quintessential British films and it's difficult to disagree with him . TRAINSPOTTING has a strong feel of time and place while 28 DAYS LATER mirrors the British apocalypse writers of the 1950s . THE BEACH with its exotic foreign location and its American star definitely feels like it's made for an American audience and Boyle tries too hard to pander to their taste . That's why THE BEACH is probably Boyle's weakest film to date
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9/10
"The Beach" - An experience
prashanthmn7 May 2007
:Trust Me, Its Paradise

'The Beach' is a kinda of movie the feel of which surrounds you slowly and completely.

I'd say Danny Boyle has done complete justification to the book. The movie captures the essence of the book. I watched the movie first and then read the book. The beach can be better experienced thru the movie. The music (by Angelo Badalamenti) is excellent, but unfortunately not popular( which is why I believe popular is not always the best ;-)). DiCaprio proves how versatile and powerful he is as an actor. A must watch for DiCaprio fans. Purchase an original DVD and you'll get to see alternate beginning and alternate climax of the movie with director's comments. You will like this movie especially if you are a crazy traveler and like to explore unseen and untouched places.

Direction, location, music and DiCaprio are the strengths of the movie. 'The Beach' is not just a movie, its an experience.

:never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience........
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5/10
Utter trash
MovieAddict20168 June 2005
I couldn't believe just how trashy this film is. To be fair the cinematography is good and it has a cool blue-ish tint that gives it a visceral edge -- but that's about it.

The acting is bad. Leo DiCaprio is a great actor when he's given a chance (What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, Catch Me If You Can) but here he's really just doing the whole boy-toy routine -- targeting the younger crowds of females rather than really trying to get into character.

The plot isn't the greatest and the metaphors aren't deep -- the movie seems rather pretentious at times and tries to be heavier and more meaningful than it actually is.

Of interesting note is that Danny Boyle (director of "Trainspotting") had a falling-out with star Ewan McGregor over this. McGregor was upset he wasn't cast in the film, and now refuses to film the sequel to "Trainspotting," which is named "Porno." Considering that "The Beach" is quite easily one of Danny Boyle's worst films and one of the most disappointing pictures of the last decade... why the fuss, Ewan? Be happy you didn't get cast in this stinker.
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3/10
on the beach...
dbdumonteil20 April 2003
Warning: Spoilers
In the beginning of 2000, everyone waited impatiently, the release of the movie "the beach", mainly because Leonardo DiCaprio was in the main role. You thought that he was going to carry on with dignity, following the huge commercial and artistic success of "Titanic". But sadly, it's not the case. This movie that is a new variation of the lost paradise is a disappointment.

As far as I'm concerned, I saw the movie at the cinema when it was launched in February 2000 and I thought that it would focus only on DiCaprio, Ledoyen and Canet's efforts to discover this beach. Actually, my expectation was justified but it only lasts half an hour. When they discover the beach and they adhere to the community, I think the movie could have ended there. The second part (which starts with the three Swedish bitten by a shark) only plays the role of fill-in and spoils all the movie. Moreover, Danny Boyle eyes a bit too much towards the bloody.

Otherwise, to put it mildly is that the dialogs of "the beach" are few inspired sometimes silly and too convenient with the situations. Sometimes, the movie turns out to be too predictable: before the love affair between DiCaprio and Ledoyen, you guess that a love story will start between them. And, inevitably, it will cause Canet's jealousy but this jealousy will spread to Ledoyen she learns that DiCaprio had sex with Sal during their stay in Bangkok. Besides, the performance appears quite mixed: Ledoyen and Canet are paling into insignifiance next to DiCaprio. Another thing I noticed: DiCaprio' voice-off doesn't succeed in making the movie gripping as it was the case with Edward Norton in "Fight Club".

Then, let's admit it: the end of the movie seems too easy and conventional. You guess before the end that the perfect paradise doesn't exist on earth and certainly not in Thailand: there are sharks, it's not always shiny and Sal, the leader of the community reveals herself to be despotic and finally cruel. Let's add that the "paradise keepers" will do anything to protect their territory, even to kill...

Nevertheless, the movie enjoys a shiny photography that reflects brilliantly the color of the sea and the beach. Landscapes are magnificient and there's a good original soundtrack which includes Moby's porcelain. But these qualities aren't sufficient enough to save the movie. A disappointing and predictable movie and somewhere unfinished. You can blame Boyle for not revealing the reasons of Daffy's suicide.
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7/10
Travel Narrows the Mind Wonderfully
James Hitchcock17 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Ever since (at least) the eighteenth century, with its cult of the "noble savage", tropical islands have frequently been seen in Western culture as the nearest that it is possible to come to Paradise on earth. This view is often reflected in the cinema, in films such as "The Blue Lagoon" or the various versions of "Mutiny on the Bounty", in which the idyll of Tahiti is contrasted with the rigours of life on board a British warship. The two versions of "Lord of the Flies", like the William Golding novel on which they are based, offer an ironic twist on this theme; a tropical island is used as the setting for an anti-Utopian story in which an attempt to found a new society ends in a relapse into barbarism.

"The Beach" has certain similarities to "Lord of the Flies". The main character is Richard, an American backpacker travelling round Thailand, who has heard tales of a co-operative multi-national community of idealistic young people living on a beach on an island off the coast. Richard has dismissed these tales as mere urban legends, but changes his mind when another backpacker, Daffy, gives him a map showing where the mysterious beach can be found. Undeterred by the fact that Daffy commits suicide shortly afterwards, Richard sets out to go there accompanied by Etienne and Francoise, a young French couple whom he has befriended.

After a number of adventures, the three succeed in reaching the island and discover that the fabled community is no urban myth but a reality. At first they are welcomed into the group and spend their days leading a seemingly idyllic lifestyle, consisting of a small amount of time spent in fishing and large amounts of time spent in playing volleyball or beach cricket, lazing about smoking pot, or (for some obscure reason) translating various English phrases into Serbo-Croat. As with all films of this type, however, we quickly realise that this life is less perfect than it seems. Sexual tensions arise when Richard finds himself increasingly attracted to Francoise and she deserts her boyfriend Etienne for him. More seriously, there are flaws in the basic concept of the community.

The main flaw is that travel narrows the mind wonderfully. The community, mostly Westerners, have dropped out of their own societies and travelled halfway around the world to Thailand, but find Thai society no more congenial than those they have left behind. Their solution is to drop out of that too and to set up a "beach resort for people who don't like beach resorts" where they can live their own hedonistic idea of the hippie life. The community is not, however self-sufficient; they produce little for themselves, apart from fish, and have to import many of their supplies from the mainland, which they pay for by growing and selling cannabis. The island, in fact, is owned by a group of Thai farmers, themselves involved in a much larger cannabis-producing operation, who are happy to tolerate the newcomers provided they keep their community a secret and do not try to attract new recruits.

As in many anti-Utopian parables, the community is dominated by a sinister dictator-figure. "Lord of the Flies" had the choirboy Jack, "Animal Farm" had Napoleon and "The Beach" has Sal, an upper-class Englishwoman who is accepted as the leader of the community (although it is never clear how she attained this position). Sal is obsessed with protecting the community's privacy and secrecy, and in order to achieve this end she is prepared to resort to violence, even murderous violence. (She is deeply suspicious of Richard, who she suspects may have distributed further copies of Daffy's map). One of the film's most chilling incidents comes after Christo, one of the group, is seriously injured after being attack by a shark. He can only be saved if he is taken back to the mainland for immediate medical treatment, but because this might result in the community's existence being revealed to outsiders, Sal refuses to permit this and Christo is left to die.

There is some good acting in the film, especially from Tilda Swinton who gives a nicely judged performance as Sal, a woman with steely eyes and a cut-glass accent who for most of the movie can seem threatening without ever issuing any direct threats or even raising her voice. This increases the impact of the scene at the end where Sal finally does lose her cool. The beautiful Virginie Ledoyen makes a charming and unaffected Francoise, and I also liked Guillaume Canet as Etienne. Originally seen as a loser, the man who loses his girlfriend to Richard, Etienne later emerges as the community's voice of conscience, the one man who refuses to abandon the dying Christo.

It was, however, unfortunate that the director Danny Boyle, who wanted Ewan McGregor to play Richard, was overruled by the studio, as Leonardo di Caprio, although he is better here than he was in "Titanic", tends to overact. The film tends to deteriorate in the second half, with the plot becoming difficult to follow as Richard, alienated from his fellow-members of the group, starts to become mentally unstable. The style of direction was excessively hectic for my tastes, and the sequence where Richard imagines he is a character in a video game was particularly eccentric. Despite its potentially interesting themes, "The Beach" falls just short of being a very good film. 7/10
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4/10
Trouble in paradise.
Michael O'Keefe4 March 2001
A young traveler (Leonardo DiCaprio)is intent on taking a vacation different from all others. He meets a French couple in Asia and convinces them to trek with him to a secretive island. Upon their arrival they find the island is as perfectly beautiful as they were told. The island is secluded, but inhabited on one side by a commune and the other by drug dealing farmers.

This film does not live up to the hype, but is a very scenic movie. It will keep the DiCaprio fans happy. Virginie Ledoyen, who plays Francoise, is a natural beauty. She is charming and very easy to like. DiCaprio puts in a very tight performance and his eyes speak volumes. The strongest acting comes from Robert Carlyle (Daffy), who provides the travelers with the map to the island before his suicide.

The movie does contain some manic action and violence, but it takes awhile to get there. Not a total disappointment. Pop a top, kick back and enjoy.
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1/10
a faithful adaptation of the book...
mattwakeman29 May 2001
...which is a shame because the book is crap. it purports to tell us all what traveling is like and the wonderous things that happen to us and make us (deep breath for a wonderful americanism) 'grow'.

so what we have is a collection of people who are travelers but have found somewhere lovely and have...ermm...stopped traveling and instead created a lovely little utopian world. with no strife. or worries. or interest. having gone traveling from my point of view this film is utter drek. you go traveling for two reasons 1) to go and see and do different things and 2) to go home again. cos you see, if you dont go home then in fact you are NOT a traveler. you have stopped traveling. you are a traveler no more.

there was more sexual tension in the film then the book (not surprising since the book amazingly had no sexual enmity between all the young 20 somethings) but what the film did miss out on was the strife over the divisions of labour and who had to do what to contribute to the community.

instead, what we get is a collection of badly underwritten annoying people preening and sunning themselves in nice locations. so many people had no characterisation that it just hurt...until you realised how bad some of the others characters were and wished that they were similarly underwritten. it goes nowhere and says nothing. dicapricorn is an horrific actor and does less with the material he is given but the whole film is a shambolic mess. at least the book had the decency to admit that when richard went back to the world that he looked back at his time at the beach as though he was a different person. but no, what we get is leonard looking at a lovely holiday snap...forgetting that two of the people in the picture are dead (and that he killed one of them) or that another one of them pointed a gun at his head. but dont worry, cos it was a life affirming event and richard has 'developed' and 'grown'. well, thats all right then.

lord of the flies for the MTV generation who wouldnt recognise a film that has no minor things like a plot, or story or characterisation or anything really. buy it for someone you hate.
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Abysmal
george.schmidt27 April 2004
THE BEACH (2000) *1/2 Leonardo Di Caprio, Virginie Ledoyen, Guillaume Canet, Tilda Swinton, Robert Carlyle. Flaccid adaptation of Alex Garland's novel about a young American abroad in Thailand (Di Caprio) who comes across a map to a desolate island paradise and embarks for the promised land with his befriended French couple where they discover less than idyllic offerings in an all too good to be true hideaway from civilization.

Comes across as a hybrid of 'The Blue Lagoon' and 'Lord of The Flies' as envisioned by a group of stoned hippies with a lot of laughable sequences and a surprisingly uninteresting plot (man becoming more uncivilized and the disharmony after madness approaches one's being). Ledoyen is as wooden as a mannequin and there are more than the average stupefying moments in this film in recent memory (her boyfriend does NOTHING when he FINALLY catches on that Leo is giving her the high hard one?!! And then disappears from the film for 20 minutes?!!) (Dir: Danny Boyle)
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not very gritty story of survival
Roland E. Zwick30 September 2000
Is this merely `Survivor' without the million-dollar payoff? Or is it a modern vision of James Hilton's most famous novel? For those too young to have any memories of `Lost Horizon,' `The Beach' may seem like a wildly new and original work. And, as this is, essentially, a narcissistic youth fantasy starring teen-idol Leonardo Di Caprio, chances are that most of the film's audience will indeed be hovering somewhere near the puberty mark. Since the cast of characters is so youthful to begin with, the film is able to dispense with – or, at the most, treat obliquely – one of the major themes that runs through `Lost Horizon,' that of the universal lure of Eternal Youth.

Di Caprio stars as Richard, a young man so bored with the mundane rituals of modern civilized life that he journeys alone to Bangkok to partake of the exotic experiences a more primitive life has to offer. While there, he encounters a seeming madman who, right before his suicide, draws a map for Richard revealing the whereabouts of a small tropical island, guaranteed to be a Shangri-la for any person clever and daring enough to get there. Recruiting two of his hotel neighbors – a young French couple – to accompany him, Richard sets out to find his own private place in the sun. But life is never quite that simple and the three soon discover that the island is already inhabited by other jaded tourists who have set up a carefree, thriving community far away from both the amenities and problems of the modern world.

This concept of discovering a secret, pristine and uncorrupted paradise has a timeless appeal and pull. And, as long as `The Beach' hews closely to this theme, it remains a reasonably interesting film, for who cannot identify at least partially with the lure of this idea? The tricky part for the filmmakers tackling this theme is to make this unlikely situation seem real and believable. Unfortunately, in the case of `The Beach,' the people who comprise this out-of-the-way community seem, for the most part, way too agreeable and cooperative. This is like a Club Med resort without the room service. Survival here doesn't seem like much of a struggle and there rarely ever seems to be much in the way of intense disagreements and arguments amongst the group's members. We wonder, for instance, why, without monetary compensation or incentives of any kind for that matter, one man does all the cooking while another man does all the building. As far as we can tell, they do virtually all the work on the island while the others frolic on the beach playing volleyball all day. `Lost Horizon' was a certified fantasy – `The Beach' aspires to realism yet it needs a bit more grit to really achieve the truth it is after. Yes, grim reality does occasionally poke its ugly head into this insulated world from time to time in the form of man-eating sharks and gun-toting pot harvesters - but the characters themselves lack psychological depth and clarity. With rare exceptions, the people on the island seem to exist in a state of unlikely harmony, exhibiting little or none of the human conflict, personal jealousy or power politics one would reasonably expect to find in such a situation. Then when, late in the game, the film develops grand illusions of becoming a meaningful and grim look into the dark heart of madness, `The Beach' becomes both pretentious and laughable. This is particularly the case because Richard seems to drift in and out of madness with a dexterity that would leave Sigmund Freud himself speechless and dumbfounded.

`The Beach' may well appeal to all those viewers who found the phony, pseudo-adventure theatrics of `Survivor' realistic and compelling. Indeed, the best part of the film is the ending when all these pathetic, craven softies from civilization, who fancy themselves rugged individualists, get their final comeuppance. Those of us who have long ago freely capitulated to the lure of all our assorted modern amenities happily get the last laugh.
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