Cert: 15 Runtime: 119 mins Director: Danny Boyle Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Virginie Ledoyen, Guillaume Canet, Tilda Swinton and Robert Carlyle
Richard, this is just the kind of pretentious bullshit that Americans always say to French girls so they can sleep with them
Danny Boyle month continues with The Beach, no McGregor in sight what so ever. So what is The Beach? American back packer Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) is one of millions of travellers all looking for an unique experience. When in Bangkok he meets the slightly deranged Daffy (Robert Carlyle) who leaves him with stories and a map to a beach on a remote island that can’t be seen from the sea. Taking with him 2 French travellers, Richard sets out to reach the island and finds it inhabited by a mix of people living as a small ideallic community. However internal conflicts rise up with their arrival and a copy of the map that he gave to some friends threaten to expose the paradise community for it’s darker roots.1.The acting was superb. Robert Carlyle was excellent as Daffy. Both french actors (Virginie Ledoyen and Guilliaume Canet) were solid. DiCaprio was great. One review I read accuses him of playing a “nobody” but I assure you that this is exactly why he was so brilliantly cast. He’s an American twenty-something on vacation in Thailand. He is unsure of himself and he is capable. He doesn’t know what he wants or why he’s here. DiCaprio plays this part perfectly, acting both unsure and overconfident. Tilda Swinton is perfect as the leader of a small island community. This movie is really hard to place. It starts out as a “finding oneself” type film with some thriller elements. It ends up… somewhere I did not expect it to go.
The story follows a windy road full of twists and turns, and takes the viewer to places he had no intention of going. It should also be mentioned that this film is fairly similar to Apocalypse Now. This movie is also funny. I wasn’t expecting that either. There are moments (very few, actually) of fun and play in this overall rather dark story. When I watch a Danny Boyle film, I am always reminded of the other films he’s made, both stylistically and thematically. Despite using different cinematographers, his films invariably have a specific visual style (much more apparent in his later films) with angled camera, and rich blues, yellows and greens. In many ways, this film reminded me a little of Trainspotting crossed with 127 Hours. It’s less flashy than one, and more than the other, and deals with some similar elements of trial that are present 127 Hours, as well as an interesting cast of characters, like Trainspotting. Both films have at least one hallucination/insanity moment, but I will not go too far down that road for fear of uncovering spoilers. The score was fine, I felt it fit the film rather well, giving it the flashy wildness of the 2000 without going overboard. Most of the soundtrack has a kind of retro synth feel combined with a more modern beat. Not the best music on the planet, but nothing to lose sleep over. Anyways, I could go more in depth about specific story elements, plot devices and scene structures, but I won’t for brevity’s sake.