Nicko and his brother take off from Canada in search of an easier life on the beaches of Colombia. Nicko meets a girl in the local village and they quickly fall in love, only for Nicko to later find out that Maria's uncle is the drug trafficker, Pablo Escobar. His life takes a dramatic turn after meeting El Patron, and Nick is forced into impossible situations to try and keep his family safe, but does Pablo have other ideas?Written by
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The flag flying outside the Canadian embassy is not the Canadian flag. See more »
[Commenting about the murder of Roldano Brother]
Cause God has done nothing to do with it.It was you, Nick.It was your intervention that got those people killed. You're as guilty as I am.
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"Escobar: Paradise Lost" is not a biopic, but it is fresh and very entertaining.
Pablo Escobar (1949-1993) was a notorious drug trafficker and leader of Columbia's infamous Medellin drug cartel. He dealt exclusively in cocaine, starting in the mid-1970s. At the height of his power, his cartel controlled 80% of the world's cocaine, smuggling fifteen tons per day, and Escobar himself had an estimated net worth of $30 billion. He maintained his power and his freedom by either bribing or killing his enemies, including those in law enforcement and politics. He also enjoyed the loyalty and support of the mostly poor people in western Columbia who benefited from the many community service projects he funded.
In spite of his personal popularity and the strength of his criminal empire, the authorities were closing in when he made a deal with the government in 1991 to surrender himself in exchange for a light sentence in a luxurious prison. Escobar continued his criminal activities from "jail" and ended up escaping after just over a year behind bars. After a year and a half on the run, a U.S.-trained task force of Columbian police found Escobar, shooting and killing him as he tried to get away. Now, imagine marrying into Pablo Escobar's family when it seemed the world was his. That's the story in "Escobar: Paradise Lost" (R, 2:00).
Josh Hutcherson (Peeta in "The Hunger Games") stars as Nick Brady, a young man from Canada who follows his older brother to Columbia with dreams of living on the beach. While working as a surfing instructor, he meets a beautiful young woman named Maria (Claudia Traisac) as in Maria Escobar. By the time Nick learns that Pablo Escobar (Benicio Del Toro) is Maria's uncle, Nick has fallen for her. She knows what her uncle does, but talks about it as if he's just an important businessman who exports their country's most popular product. She doesn't seem to understand the full extent of her uncle's power and brutality and Nick only gradually comes to his own understanding of who "El Patron" really is.
Nick marries Maria and is welcomed into the Escobar family with open arms. The couple even moves on to Uncle Pablo's estate. Nick's brother, Dylan (Brady Corbet) and his wife Anne (Ana Girardot), who have a new baby and another one on the way, become very worried for Nick – and for themselves. But Maria isn't like the rest of her family and she is all Nick really cares about. Eventually, even Nick and Maria see that they should be joining Dylan and Anne in leaving the country, but by then, audience members have to ask themselves if it's too late.
Most of the film's action takes place in the final couple of days before Escobar surrenders to authorities to begin his prison term. Before he goes away, he has a plan to safeguard his vast wealth and he asks for help from Nick, whom he appears to hold in very high regard. Pablo gives Nick a series of very specific instructions to carry out, which includes asking Nick to do things that he tells Escobar he's never done before. Escobar responds simply, "We all have to make sacrifices, Niko. You can do this." Without spoiling the ending, let me just say that Nick's errand doesn't go according to plan – anyone's plan.
"Escobar: Paradise Lost" feels so authentic, I was surprised to learn that it is NOT based on a true story. The film tells a tale that seems very plausible even in its smallest details, based on what we now know about Pablo Escobar and his criminal empire. Basing this film on a real person and real events, but focusing on a fictional main plot leaves writer-director Andrea Di Stefano free to be as creative as she likes with the story – and what a yarn she has spun! The film starts with intensity, allows for good characterization and for the development of the romance between Nick and Maria, then builds to a thrilling third act, while avoiding clichés found in many films of this kind. In short, the audience gets a little education and insight, a heartfelt romance and a harrowing fight for survival, all in a film that's fresh and entertaining from beginning to end. "A"
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