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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.84%
Worth A Look: 32.47%
Average: 10.39%
Pretty Bad35.71%
Total Crap: 15.58%

11 reviews, 88 user ratings

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Beach, The
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by Erik Childress

"You can see the audience click off about two-thirds in."
2 stars

What is it with these kids today? At least the kids in movies. Why are so many travelling to places like Bangkok for a vacation? Are they too good for Daytona Beach or even Hawaii? Do they think Bangkok is the foreign name for brothel? First there was Return to Paradise then there was the female remake Brokedown Palace. Now we’ve got The Beach, a beautifully looking if dramatically flat film that aspires to be a travelogue version of Fight Club and comes up way short.

The Beach (**)

Leonardo DiCaprio plays a bored American backpacker, with enough money to be a world traveler, but never mind that because his name is Richard and that’s all we need to know about him, or so we’re told. After an encounter with a daffy guy named...Daffy…Leo recruits his hotel neighbors (French couple Francoise and ATM) to go on a trek to find an island paradise. What they find is a version of the Kurtz compound in Apocalypse Now after listening to a 24-hour loop of Shiny Happy People. They also find the equivalent of paradise for many youngsters – a gigantic field of marijuana plants. Paradise also includes the beautiful beach, the bluest of blue waters, fresh fish and volleyball games.
This is the commune that Leo has apparently been looking for all over – a group content to live with nature and not the conveniences of modern-day life. That doesn’t stop them from sending Leo on a beer run to pick up batteries and tampons though. They’re also not smart enough to stay out of the water after it becomes known that sharks tend to show up from time to time. The whole point to this cynicism is that the filmmakers don’t seem to know what the point is. Even the film’s ads suggest the island paradise is disrupted by the pirates from Six Days, Seven Nights, but such is really not the case as the marijuana farmers allow the commune to exist as long as they keep their Peter Rabbit asses out of their dope and don’t tell anymore people about the beach. His character’s only hate seems to be tourists, because even as bored as he is with the world around him, he still manages to bring along and play his Gameboy. Parallels can be drawn in the scene where he fails to immediately respond to a cry for help because he’s too busy playing a video game, but it doesn’t go very far to lend legitimacy to the character they’ve set up in the opening narration.
Much that has been written about this The Beach likens it to Lord of the Flies, The Blue Lagoon and homages to Apocalypse Now – but the film it most closely resembles is the underappreciated Harrison Ford/Peter Weir collaboration, The Mosquito Coast. Both films are about males who feel that the world in which they live in is dead in some metaphorical way. Ford’s character was about disappointment in the country he grew up in. Leo seems to be out of video games. Both characters end up packing their lives (or family) up in search of “paradise” in the jungle and both are how about they go mad and screw it up. And, boy, does Leo go mad in the final third of this film and its completely out of left field. You can literally see the audience click off the minute Leo goes into a hallucinatory state of jungle madness and imagines himself in his own video game. It seems like a parallel to the wacky Daffy’s madness, but even that is left to speculation whether he killed himself or one of the island people knifed him to protect their secret. One guy isn’t allowed to leave to have a toothache fixed and another with shark bites is banished because he’s bumming them out.

All this exists in a film that is never boring and visually arresting, but never follows through on the ideas it sets up, loses its way completely in the final act, and leaves the audience falling short of paradise.

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originally posted: 02/15/00 08:05:53
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell boring IMHO 1 stars
10/15/07 fools♫gold danny boyle in all his perfectness 5 stars
5/02/07 Vin Mostly good, ending a bit weak though 4 stars
2/04/07 William Goss A Gen-X Lord-of-the-Flies that isn't nearly as profound as it thinks it is. 2 stars
2/01/07 Matt If the movie doesn't even know what it's trying to say, how should we? 2 stars
10/01/06 Beau i loved it, action packed movie with a hint of horror. Loved the secrecy in it. 5 stars
5/04/06 tatum Dull mumbo-jumbo, Leo is really terrible 2 stars
5/03/06 Anthony Feor Leo's career is flushed down the toilet 1 stars
2/22/06 Ronin a very interesting script 4 stars
8/30/05 LS Galvin Very pleasing to the eye - worth a watch! 4 stars
8/18/05 ES Says a lot about society, betrayal and waste, but they went with the goof as a lead= bad 2 stars
5/17/05 Indrid Cold Strange, dull story. 2 stars
2/13/05 Alice Colwell not bad 4 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams bad choice to follow up Titanic. MORE water?! 2 stars
12/07/04 Gaza This film is crap. Danny continues his downward spiral that bottoms out in teh aweful 28 Da 2 stars
9/10/04 jeff good movie till it turns weird close to the ending. 4 stars
9/09/03 Niels Hesse REALLY GOOD MOVIE 5 stars
8/28/03 Mr. Hat Really good script and acting, and great directing. 4 stars
7/11/03 Kelli cool 4 stars
2/26/03 Blabity blah Didn't know if it wanted to be the Blue Lagoon or Apocoplyse Now 2 stars
9/29/02 Fuze44 I wanted the main character to die. 1 stars
9/24/02 I Can't Swim You shitheads that hate Leo should choke on my prostate gland 5 stars
5/18/02 azzouz mohamed rachid doctor 5 stars
2/20/02 Monster W. Kung Superficial and annoying. What a disappointment after Trainspotting. 2 stars
1/16/02 Cookie Cutter Pretty moronic and fake, though the scenery is beautiful. 2 stars
10/09/01 Mark Conway Starts off well, but then struggles to make any real inpact, poor plot, leo's too fucked up 3 stars
9/13/01 Gary Poor adaptation that skims over the novel's themes. Ledoyen & the photography are good tho. 2 stars
7/29/01 Mike Hunt I thought Leo met his demise on the Titanic! Too bad. 1 stars
6/21/01 Tzila Seewald It's disgusting movie! 2 stars
6/07/01 Rampage I hate your review, Hawk, you used to be reliable, now you give this dumb movie four stars 1 stars
4/23/01 Luke Great movie. 5 stars
4/16/01 Tam Exotic and memorable yarn, beautiful scenery, but a bit thin on plot. 4 stars
3/02/01 lisa psycho! they're all nuts 1 stars
2/22/01 Fredy Great movie if you go see it high. Nardo really sucks though. 2 stars
2/15/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) =| 3 stars
12/07/00 Stuntman One of the worst in a whole line of screwed up teenybopper movies. Damn you Leo! 1 stars
11/20/00 natasha a little uneven, but some interesting ideas played well 4 stars
10/16/00 Dan Stunning scenery and good cinematography, but Hodge sure fucked up the story. 2 stars
9/27/00 mephetic Haha, this movie is pretty damn funny. It ALMOST makes Leo cool. 4 stars
9/15/00 Overflow Bitch Very good, VERY VERY UNDERRATED. Well written, interesting, great scenery all around. 4 stars
9/12/00 Ground Zero DiCaprio is the parasite... terminate with extreme prejuice... 1 stars
9/04/00 The Extreaminizer Good If you want to see DeCrapio smoke pot for 2 hours, anyways, it sucks major ass 1 stars
8/04/00 skeletor de-CRAP-io sucks 1 stars
7/30/00 The Bomb 69 what's up with the video game sequence? plot holes the size of Montana 2 stars
7/04/00 Tandi Pretty good a bit odd at times though! 4 stars
5/05/00 everythingsucks purty scenery, a few plot holes 4 stars
4/29/00 Pansy Screw Leo Di Caprio and his mom 2 stars
4/09/00 saMas Too many plot holes. could have been more entertaining 4 stars
4/04/00 Tim Total Shit Ass 1 stars
3/29/00 Zappa Not a good adaptation, but probably ok if your standards aren't that high. 3 stars
3/27/00 Coolio The best fucking movie i have ever seen. 5 stars
3/23/00 Laura Not bad for a Leo Dicap film 4 stars
3/22/00 Brigid McFoster If you can get over the fact that it is not like the book you may just think it is okay 3 stars
3/22/00 rebecca great movie!! 4 stars
3/20/00 Leonardo Dicaprio Adventure, action, comedy, and all round excellent 5 stars
3/20/00 MR HOLLYWOOD!! Leonardo should stick to SINKING! All i can say is BOORRRIINNGGGG 2 stars
3/18/00 DK Not a get away from the bad guys as previews suggest 4 stars
3/16/00 KEVIN DALEY TERRIBLE 1 stars
3/15/00 Lame-Oh WTH? Gilligan's Island on ludes 1 stars
3/12/00 Pix everything about this film is crap 1 stars
3/10/00 m0vieboy The whole video game scene ruined the movie!! 2 stars
3/03/00 Ben Ryan WTF? Nothing like the previews make you think. Good location shots, horrible acting. 3 stars
3/02/00 Bornslippy ripped the novel apart, only commentable aspects were music and cinematography 2 stars
2/29/00 Captain Highcrime A "Gilligan's Island" tale strictly for the girls and their "little buddy" vibrators. 3 stars
2/25/00 Bozo Not half as bad as you miserable cocksuckers are making it out to be 4 stars
2/22/00 toneely sucked so bad 1 stars
2/22/00 Chartsy Horrible reviews elsewhere lowered my expectations I think. 4 stars
2/22/00 Mr. Kramitall I Know What You Did Last Summer on vacation... horrible! 1 stars
2/22/00 Overflow Bitch Not as good as I had hoped, but still a fresh change, and Leo was pretty good. 4 stars
2/22/00 amy r. dawson pretty damned good. 4 stars
2/21/00 Melissa Good flick, I like Leo better now. More entertaining than the book. 4 stars
2/19/00 Lame-Oh The only answer to Leo's crummy acting... he's one lousy pissant. 1 stars
2/19/00 Mortis I enojyed the movie for what it was... a movie. I was entralled. 4 stars
2/19/00 Matthew Bartley Very good and interesting 4 stars
2/16/00 Kyle Broflovski Leo's about to lose his mojo...and it shows... 3 stars
2/15/00 Neil Austin Not a bad film, stop comparing every Boyle film to Trainspotting, cause he won't top it. 4 stars
2/15/00 JJ a real stinker, 1 stars
2/15/00 Chris Wheeler Spent the whole time thinking of better things I could be doing. 1 stars
2/15/00 Cheaps Better than I thought. Entertaining. 4 stars
2/13/00 Roman Hmmm it was very interesting... 3 stars
2/13/00 majawat A pretty, bad movie 3 stars
2/13/00 toneely This movie sucked really bad. I didn't care if they all had got ate by sharks 1 stars
2/13/00 Terrance and Philip this movie was better than looking for pennies up my bum!<BR>ASS-TASTIC! 5 stars
2/13/00 Gavin Moore This movie is a rental at best. I feel raped for spending 14 dollars. 1 stars
2/12/00 Catherine Leo is gay, Gay, GAY!!!!! 1 stars
2/12/00 Lame-Oh Goddam this trash! That Leo is one sorry-ass maggot. Bitchslap that miserable puke! 1 stars
2/11/00 Bob Jones Its got that fag from titanic in it, it sucks the _fat_ one 1 stars
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  11-Feb-2000 (R)
  DVD: 22-Oct-2002


  09-Mar-2000 (MA)

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