film

reviews










 

The Beach (2000)

Director:
Danny Boyle
COUNTRY
USA/UK
GENRE
Drama/Thriller
NORWEGIAN TITLE
The Beach
RUNNING TIME
119 minutes
Producer:
Andrew Macdonald
Screenwriter (based on the novel by Alex Garland):
John Hodge


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Richard Leonardo DiCaprio
Francoise Virginie Ledoyen
Etienne Guillaume Canet
Daffy Robert Carlyle
Sal Tilda Swinton
Bugs Lars Arentz Hansen

 

Review

Capitalizing on the peak of Leonardo DiCaprio's teen fame, Danny Boyle moved his fascination for youngsters in search of extreme experiences to Alex Garland's hidden beach on an island outside of the coast of Thailand. The story is based on the Far East backpacker culture of the 1990s, and Garland and Boyle give western self-indulgent, culture-ignorant adventurers a heavy blow, even if nobody can be criticised for being captivated by the fantastic nature displayed in The Beach.

The film is thematically interesting and holds up quite well narratively throughout, but as DiCaprio and his French friends find their places in The Hidden Beach Society, the film falls into many of the same traps as did the two Lord of the Flies adaptations, and the drama suffers from too much hypothetical intrigue and an overflow of visualized psychobabble in which the characters' mental state either is not well motivated or not well explained.

Leonardo DiCaprio's performance is wholehearted as always, but he doesn't hit the emotional note as well as he often has done before and after. And in playing a narcissistic junkie, his reasoning voice-over isn't all that interesting. In other roles, Tilda Swinton gives a powerful but one-sided performance, but it is Guillaume Canet who hits the truest notes in his role as Etienne. As always, Danny Boyle explores interesting territories, and does so with some very effective cinematography, but he has made much better films both before and after this one.

 

Copyright 21.6.2009 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

[BACK TO INDEX]

[HAVE YOUR SAY]