Vicenarian Richard travels to Thailand and finds himself in possession of a strange map. Rumours state that it leads to a solitary beach paradise, a tropical bliss. Excited and intrigued, he sets out to find it.
After his father's death, Gilbert has to care for his mentally-disabled brother, Arnie, and his morbidly obese mother. This situation is suddenly challenged though, when love unexpectedly walks into his life.
Garland's novel centers on a young nicotine-addicted traveler named Richard, an avid pop-culture buff with a particular love for video games and Vietnam War movies. While at a hotel in Bangkok, he finds a map left by his strange, whacked-out neighbor, who just committed suicide. The map supposedly leads to a legendary island paradise where some other wayward souls have settled.Written by
Mike Arndt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The tattoo on Richard's arm disappears in several shots after the tattoo is given. It's there, then gone, then reappears. See more »
My name is Richard. So what else do you need to know? Stuff about my family, or where I'm from? None of that matters. Not once you cross the ocean and cut yourself loose, looking for something more beautiful, something more exciting and yes, I admit, something more dangerous. So after eighteen hours in the back of an airplane, three dumb movies, two plastic meals, six beers and absolutely no sleep, I finally touch down; in Bangkok.
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This film had some differences from the novel that wasn't seen in the film:
Richard's obsession with war and video games is explained a bit more in the novel.
Keaty is not obsessed with his Game Boy in the film.
Richard never sleeps with Françoise despite having feelings for her, which he thinks are reciprocated, saying that he considers Étienne a good guy and would not want to do that to him.
Richard never sleeps with Sal, nor is it Sal who accompanies him to the mainland for supplies, but rather a character called Jed (who patrols the island's perimeter) who does not appear in the film. In the book, Jed is the person who leads Richard, Etienne, and Françoise to the community, not Keaty.
Ella (who works for Unhygienix), Jean (the leader of the gardening detail), Cassie (who works for Bugs), Jesse (who works in the gardening detail), Moshe (the head of the second fishing detail), and the two unnamed Yugoslavian girls (who work for Moshe) do not appear in the film.
The part where Keaty catches a dead squid that gives some of the island's inhabitants food poisoning is not in the film.
Karl escaping from the island in the beach community's main boat was not in the film.
The ending is different from the book's, which had Richard, Françoise, Étienne, Keaty, and Jed attempting to escape from the now crumbling community. In the book's epilogue after their successful escape, they move into their respective lives. Richard loses touch with Étienne and Françoise yet finds it hard to be totally freed of the effects of his experiences in that "parallel universe."
Richard never received an e-mail from Françoise with a picture after their farewell.
... and I thought it was a pretty good film. When it first came out it was DiCaprio's presence that caused me not to watch it, and after watching him grow as an actor over the last 15 years, DiCaprio is what got me curious enough to give it a try.
DiCaprio plays Richard, a tourist who hates the tourist traps he can afford in Thailand. A guy in Richard's hotel named Daffy -for appropriate reasons - kills himself, but first draws a map to an island that he claims is nirvana. Richard convinces two French tourists to come with him and they actually do find a colony of people living outside of any civilization other than the one they have built for their own survival and pleasure. The leader is Sal (Tilda Swinton) who tells the three that the drug dealers who control the island allow them to stay there but have said there can be no more people joining them - it hurts their chances at having their thriving cannabis business remain undiscovered. Sal says that they can stay, but is bothered by the map, burns it, and asks if they gave a copy to anyone else. Richard lies and says no - he gave it to a group of stoners he met before they got there. Whether they are on their way there or are too drug addled to make the trip, Richard does not know. So he figures the lie will hurt nobody.
This is basically an adult "Lord of the Flies". The lesson it teaches is that no matter where you go, unfortunately your human nature and all that comes with it hitches a ride. That is why Richard could easily see the evils of the city but it took some time for problems to arise at "the beach". It's just a matter of more humans in one place than another.
And who would figure on a story in which armed drug dealers actually turn out to be the good guys, probably because they know the truth about human nature better than their nirvana seeking neighbors. To see what I mean, watch and find out.
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