6.9/10
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132 user 67 critic

Return to Paradise (1998)

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Two friends must choose whether to help a third friend who was arrested in Malaysia for drug possession.

Director:

Joseph Ruben

Writers:

Pierre Jolivet (motion picture Force Majeure), Olivier Schatzky (motion picture Force Majeure) (as O. Schatzky) | 2 more credits »
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vince Vaughn ... John 'Sheriff' Volgecherev
Anne Heche ... Beth Eastern
Joaquin Phoenix ... Lewis McBride
David Conrad ... Tony Croft
Vera Farmiga ... Kerrie
Nick Sandow ... Ravitch
Jada Pinkett Smith ... M.J. Major
Ming Lee Ming Lee ... Mr. Chandran
Joel de la Fuente ... Mr. Doramin
Richard Chang ... Prosecutor
James McCauley James McCauley ... Famous Divorce Lawyer (as James Michael McCauley)
Brette Taylor ... Young Woman in Limo (as Brettanya Friese)
Deanna Yusoff Deanna Yusoff ... Woman in Bar
David Zayas ... Construction Foreman
Amy Wong Amy Wong ... Ticket Agent (as Amy Wong)
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Storyline

Three friends share an exciting vacation in Malaysia, full of fun, drinks, women and hash. When the vacation is over, each have dreams of continuing their lives, and they all go their separate ways. One of them (Phoenix) remains on the tropical paradise to fulfill a dream of working with apes for research. Two years later, a lawyer (Heche) comes to New York and hunts down the other two friends to give some sad news. A few days after they left the island, police raided their camp and found amazingly large quantities of hash left about. Phoenix was still residing there, so he had to take the blame. He is set to be put to death in 8 days, and the only way the charges can be decreased is if the two friends come back to paradise and take their share of the responsibilty. If they do, they both will spend three years in prison. If only one does, he will spend six years behind bars... Written by R.P. Falvey

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Give up three years of their lives or give up the life of their friend. They have eight days to decide.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, drug content, some sexuality and a scene of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 August 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Long Way to Paradise See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,465,129, 16 August 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$8,288,513, 27 September 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Vera Farmiga. See more »

Goofs

Sheriff's shirt shows no sign of having a mug of beer splashed on it as he watches the tape. See more »

Quotes

Beth: I'm not the best, but I am the most persistent.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In memory of DANNY ARNOLD See more »

Connections

Remake of Force majeure (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Jing Jing (Firefly)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Riveting performances; unexpected twists!
12 December 1999 | by piedSee all my reviews

This well acted, intense drama is worth seeing on two counts:

1) The excellent performances by Lewis (Phoenix) and Beth (Ann Heche)

2) The uncompromising and original plot.

Three young men decide to party in Malaysia, leaving one of them, a Greenpeace activist, behind after two years. He is sentenced to hang for a drug charge; only his two friends who have returned to America can save him.

Not a car chase in sight, but the tension is high. The unexpected, emotion-filled ending is both gratifying and sad. I recommend this film with eight (8) stars.


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