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The Beach  

The Beach is a horrible and annoying film. The film's story surrounds its narrator, Richard (DiCaprio). Richard is an American that has arrived in Thailand to find something different. While in his hotel room, Richard is encountered by a crazy pot smoking indivdual, Daffy (Carlyle). Daffy tells Richard of a secret paradise beach that is very beautiful and mesmerizing. The next day, a map to this beach plops in Richard's lap and Daffy slits his wrists. Keeping the map hidden from the investigators of Daffy's suicide, Richard convinces too young French lovers to going along with him to this secret beach. The two lovers, Francoise (Ledoyen) and Etienne (Canet), quickly accept and head out with Richard to find the beach. Once the three arrive at the island of the beach, they are amazed at its beauty and field of marijuana. Next, the secret community of the island takes in the three with open arms. The community warns the three that they are too stay on the community's side of the island and away from the marijuana fields. The other side of the island is filled with machine armed drug dealers. The three accept and begin to have a life of paradise. Richard and Francoise eventually fall in love with one another and leave Etienne hurt with depression. Once Richard believes that he has everything in this wonderful place, he begins questioning his sanity because of the dark secrets surrounding the beach.
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The Beach is a movie that is so stupid and pointless that I became nauseated trying to figure out its motive and plot. The only thing admirable in this film is the beautiful waters and white sand beaches. Everything else is purely weak filmmaking and terrible storytelling.

John Hodge adapted the script from Alex Garland's novel of the same name. The script is just absolutely nothing. There is no plot, no character development, no sequencing, no resolution, and nothing to follow. The script seems to have pieces of a lot of other movies in it. Examples are certain actions or scenes that resemble Rambo II, Apocalypse Now and Lord of the Flies. Also, Richard narrates the so-called story the whole time. In which adds to making the film drag along until its credits take the screen.

Danny Boyle very poorly directed The Beach. Boyle's previous credits include Trainspotting and A Life Less Ordinary. Boyle tries to capture the essence of paradise mixed in with psychological scenes that worked a lot better in his previous film Trainspotting. An example of one Boyle's directorial choices in the film is when Richard fantasies himself in an electronic video game. He goes walking around the woods eating spiders and other things in this fantasy like he is in a Gameboy. This scene was very dumb and ineffective. Boyle hasn't delivered a good scene, more less a good film, since Trainspotting.

And of course the acting is also weak in The Beach. Leonardo Dicaprio gives his first performance since that huge movie with the sinking ship. His performance in The Beach is suprisingly very bad, and defietanly the worst of his career. DiCaprio does take a different and darker role with Richard than his last character Jack in that huge movie with the sinking ship. But DiCaprio doesn't give audiences any depth or anything to go with. DiCaprio has proven himself as a good actor in his previous dark films, like The Basketball Diaries and A Boy's Life, but his performance in The Beach doesn't click. Yes, Leonardo Dicaprio is a teen heartthrob, but he is also a good actor. I hope that he begins choosing better roles, or he will only be remembered as that guy in the sinking ship movie. Virginie Ledoyen doesn't do much anything acting wise either in The Beach as Francoise. She seemed lost to me, almost as if she was just as confused as I was with the dialogue and script of The Beach. Also, Robert Carlyle, who just turned in a terrific performance in Angela's Ashes, crumples in his performance as the psychopath pot smoker, Daffy.

The Beach might bring some money its first weekend, due to its star power of DiCaprio. However, watch for this film to drop out of the box office quickly and be washed away by its competition.

Report Card Grade: F

Joseph C (Beastman) Tucker

Copyright, 2000 Joseph C. Tucker, reprinted with kind permission.

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