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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
'Return to Paradise' is one of the most underrated films of the last few years. It deserved at least three Oscar nominations. Best actress: Anne Heche, Best supporting actor: Joaquin Phoenix and best original score: Mark Mancina. Was it because this wasn't a big studio film that it was robbed of these nominations? After reading other reviews, other people feel the same way. Even some Golden Globe nods would have been warrented.
This film wasn't released at the theaters here in Australia and went straight onto video and I understand it was a flop in the states cause most people were busy paying money to see the regular trash that comes out of Hollywood. This is a shame cause I would have made the effort to see it a couple of times at the cinema.
Anne Heche (Psycho) gave such an amazing performance in the film (maybe the performance of her career), my heart was aching at the end for her and the rest of the cast including Vince Vaughn (Psycho), David Conrad (Men of Honor), Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator) and Jada Pinket Smith (Scream 2) who you'll hate once the movie's over as she's pretty good as the bitchy/power hungry journalist are all so convincing in their roles.
Everyone should have a pretty good idea of what the plot involves but even if it isn't your cup of tea, the film is worth seeing for the performances which unfortunately have pretty much gone unrecognized. Check it out. Score: 9 out of 10
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