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>
The actor playing Swedish guy Karl is actually from Finland and sports a Finnish accent. See more »
Keaty explains the rules of cricket and asks if anyone still doesn't understand. Richard and Étienne both raise their left hands. The camera angle changes; when Richard is shown again, he is raising his right arm instead. 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.
This is one of the few times that I have been badly mislead by the reviews on IMDb! I avoided this film in the past because of this, but thought it would be a good "soft" film to watch on video with with a friend and his wife (she doesn't like difficult films).
What a revelation! I understand that people who have read the book may be disappointed, but as an uneducated viewer this is a fantastic film! Novel situation, novel location (beautiful images, even though the beach was re-modeled), novel plot, novel characters (all of whom are wildly different yet possible to sympathise with - except maybe for Bugs)... this film has everything in it that I find so desperately lacking in the average Hollywood pulp I'm forced to watch with friends.
And I *liked* the fact that the film made a few surprising changes in style... I hate knowing the end of a story at least an hour before it finally grinds its inevitable way there (see any "action" film).
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