‘Paradise Hills’ Review: A Beautifully-Built World Crumbles with Jumbled Plotting

A futuristic take on class warfare, Alice Waddington’s Paradise Hills is a compellingly strange, visually daring, but ultimately narratively empty directorial debut. Led by Emma Roberts, Awkwafina, and Milla Jovovich, the film features a unique mixture of costume and set designs (think Burton’s Alice in Wonderland meets The Prisoner) yet its intriguing set-up quickly runs aground with stilted dialogue and awkward plotting, spending much time on its cotton-candy aesthetic and not enough on sorting out its jumbled themes.

Taking place in a somewhat distant future, we begin with Roberts’ Uma seemingly dressed as an extra from the Capitol scenes in The Hunger Games, in full camp mode at an upper-class party before quickly flashing back to two months earlier, as she wakes to find herself in an island retreat, run by The Duchess. Sent there by her family who wants her to abandon her poor lover and marry a more appropriately wealthy suitor,
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