The Beach (2000) / Thriller-Adventure
MPAA Rated: R for violence, some strong sexuality, language and drug content
Running Time: 119 min.
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton, Virginie Ledoyen, Guillaume Canet, Robert Carlyle
Director: Danny Boyle
Screenplay: John Hodge (based on the novel by Alex Garland)
Review published February 8, 2000
After his monumental breakthrough in Titanic and The Man in the Iron Mask, Leonardo DiCaprio's first film after taking about a year off from acting doesn't quite prove worth the wait. This one puts him back in the water, only this time on an island off of the coast of Thailand, where an urban legend of a paradise beach proves itself true. Not everything is peachy keen, as there are some gun-toting drug farmers guarding one of the world's largest pot plantations, and having to keep the location secret is worth more to the other villagers who've taken up a commune there than life itself.
Combine themes from The Lord of the Flies and Apocalypse Now, toss in a love triangle and lots of drugs, and you get The Beach in a nutshell. The Beach isn't altogether a bad movie, it's just a movie that always seems to fizzle quickly just as soon as it looks like it's finally going somewhere. DiCaprio doesn't have nearly the appeal as he did in his last two outings and director Danny Boyle (A Life Less Ordinary, Trainspotting) can't seem to remain consistent with his characters taken from Alex Garland's novel. The film maintains a certain watchability, but doesn't know what it wants to be or do or say, and thus is hollow at the core. Why spend two hours building up and never paying off?
©2000 Vince Leo