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The Beach

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Beach

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton
Director: Danny Boyle
Rated: R
RunTime: 118 Minutes
Release Date: February 2000
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Guillaume Canet, Staffan Kihlbom, Virginie Ledoyen, Magnus Lindgren, Victoria Smurfit, Robert Carlyle

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1.  Susan Granger review follows movie reviewmovie review
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Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

It's a teeny-bopper's fantasy: Utopia with Leonardo DiCaprio. Let's hope those teenagers who flocked to Titanic are now old enough to get into this R-rated idyll because they're the target audience. Leo plays an American backpacker in Thailand, eager to escape from the touristy, pop culture, digital world of today. Travel, he says, is the search for experience, the quest for something different. That's just what he finds when he and a young French couple (Guillaume Canet, Virginie Ledoyen) follow a map given to him by a manic, crazed Brit (Robert Carlyle) who commits suicide. To get to "the perfect beach," they swim across open sea from one island to another, crawl through cannabis fields past armed guards, and jump from the top of a 120' waterfall. Exhilarated, they discover a small, international community of young travelers under the leadership of ruthless Tilda Swinton, who has vowed to keep their unspoiled hideaway secret, an exclusive enclave - no matter what the consequences. "In the perfect beach resort, nothing is allowed to interrupt the pursuit of pleasure, not even dying," Leo learns. Filmmaker Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary) and cinematographer Darius Khondji have captured Alex Garland's parable of modern life and distilled it into a weird, ironic glimpse of paradise, particularly when the temporarily deranged Leo runs through the jungle as a character in a video game. Problem is: the characters are too thinly drawn and much comes across as pretentious poppycock, particularly the glib, happy, very commercial ending with Leo back in a cyber-cafe, downloading a photographic memento of his exotic misadventure. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, The Beach is a cinematically sweeping 5 - the vivid saga of a Club Med gone awry.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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