6.9/10
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130 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 ... 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

During the restaurant scene where Tony's fiancee gets upset, the number, arrangement, and contents of the food plates change in almost every shot. Sheriff has food almost instantaneously without having ordered. See more »

Quotes

Sheriff: You'd take 3 years from me but you wouldn't take my word?
See more »

Crazy Credits

In memory of DANNY ARNOLD See more »

Connections

Referenced in Decker: Sonrise (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Jing Jing (Firefly)
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User Reviews

 
Very Underrated Movie
20 September 2013 | by roth81See all my reviews

I am not a Fan of Drama/romantic Movies, but This Movie should have been overloaded with awards! smartly written, strong editing and great acting.

Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche are brilliant in their roles especially Anne Heche. I was never a fan of Vince Vaughn, but this was a great performance from Him.

Anne Heche took her character to another level. Joaquin Phoenix performance is very realistic.

One of the strengths of this film are the things in between. Afterwards, you can ask yourself if Beth is an actual Lawyer. Whether the proposal of three years actually has been and not concocted by Beth. And what were the motives of Sheriff. Yet the morally or in love with Beth. The two story lines are beautifully interwoven in each other with surprising twists here and there.

The only down point from this movie is that the director misused Heche by not giving her good camera angles and coverage of her expressive face.

'Return to Paradise' is one of the most underrated films ever. It deserved at least two Oscar nominations. Best actress: Anne Heche, Best supporting actor: Joaquin Phoenix

Even if you do not like this kind of movie, the movie 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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