The Beach 6/10
The Beach (R) 2000
Reviewer’s Tilt (3)
Special DVD Features worth a look-Director commentary
Trainspotting director Danny Boyle latest pays homage to many great films, combining different directorial styles to present a single story. The underlying tale lies somewhere between Animal Farm and Blue Lagoon, but gets from point “A” to point “B” using direction elements from Trainspotting, Apocalypse Now, Lord of the Flies and many other films. The story revolves around Richard, (Leonardo DiCaprio), an American seeking all the indulgences the world’s unseemly back streets have to offer.
Whether it is drugs, women, booze or parties Richard is looking for the next fix. Pondering his next exotic experience in a seedy Thailand hotel, Richard encounters Daffy (Robert Carlysle), a psychologically disturbed drug addict, regaling Richard with tales of a utopia he experienced on a secluded island. Richard then meets a French couple (Virginie Ledoyen and Guillaume Canet), and the three decide to seek out Daffy’s island utopia. The story follows the three through fear, pain, love, heartbreak, pity and growth as they wash off society and seek their true selves. Carlysle is riveting as Daffy, and Tilda Swinton's scene stealing performances as the island leader are very satisfying.
Unfortunately, neither DiCaprio nor the script develops enough empathy for Richard to make the viewer care about his journey or his catharsis. The movie has a lot to offer in terms of style and cinematography, but a weak performance by DiCaprio and overindulgent direction, are distracting and prevent the viewer from fully participating in the experience. Boyle presents this uneven, trite piece of escapism in a cinematographically beautiful package, but fails to deliver any real depth or substance.
Format: Color, Widescreen anamorphic, Closed captioned.
Sound: (Dolby Digital 5.1), (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
Extras: Director commentary, alternate ending, deleted scenes, All Saints music video, storyboard, trailer.