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.
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 <email@example.com>
When Sal says "come with me" to Richard after waking him from his nightmare, her lips only move once. 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.
Intense and interesting, but contains it's share of flaws.
On a rating scale of 0 to 100; I gave The Beach a score of 72.
Many people have stopped themselves from seeing The Beach because of bad reviews from critics and the story of the crew wrecking an entire island to make the movie. One of those things, in my book, is a fact. They did wreck an island, and for pure entertainment, it's not worth it. Still, the bad reviews from the critics I disagree with, I found this quite a little gem, and if you agree with some of my other reviews, I recommend you don't hesitate when you see The Beach sitting on the drama shelf of your video store.
The wonders of modern technology, like computers, video games, cell phones, pagers and the internet, were designed to make our lives more enjoyable and facilitate communications. Yet for many, the complexity of the digital world is overwhelming, leading to a feeling of unreality of being discconected. The desire to find something real to connect with something or someone is what drives Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), a young American backpacker who arrives in Thailand with adventure on his mind. Travel, he asserts, is the search for experience, the quest for something different. Richard and two friends (Virginie Ledoyen and Guillaume Canet) he meets in Thailand risk their lives travelling secret that is dubbed the beach resort for those who don't like beach resorts. At their destination, Richard and friends are welcomed into a community that lives on the beach. However, they soon discover that beneath this surface, this heaven on earth is less than perfect.
Leonardo DiCaprio declared he was not anti-Titanic when he did this film. And he isn't. DiCaprio shows on his face how successful he is when he did the film, and he is a show-off. But, darn it all, DiCaprio is good because we know he has the potential. He went a long length to do this movie, even director's favourite Ewan McGregor was passed over for DiCaprio, and rightfully so. I just can't picture anyone else playing the role. The acting hotline is also boiling with such talents as Tilda Swinton, Virginie Ledoyen and the masterful Robert Carlyle. Danny Boyle's direction is solid and he paces the film nicely, and the script is adapted well from Alex Garland's better-than-movie book. The film certainly has flaws, some scenes particularly the ones with the dope growers are just plain stupid and the film really loses it's feet towards the end, going completely out of control.
Still, The Beach is a film that is ripe for discussion. It features alluring scenery from the small island of Phuket, it has some striking visuals and an absorbing and intense message about finding your own paradise. It's not the best film of 2000, but The Beach remains a worthy attempt.
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