The Beach (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/10/2000

"There's three things I believe in: God, Christianity……..and cricket!".

From the makers of Shallow Grave and Trainspotting comes the screen adaptation of Alex Garland's bestselling novel that every self-respecting traveller has read, at least twice.

Surrounded in more pre-release hype than a Tyson fight, Boyle cast a young American (DiCaprio) as Richard, the Scottish backpacker, who, with the help of Gallic lovers Francoise (Ledoyen) and Etoine (Canet), goes in search of a paradise promised on a map by Daffy (Carlyle) a disenhartened inhabitant of such an idyll.

They follow the map to the island and discover a community built out of the jungle, but soon realise life isn't as easy as first impressions would imply.

The cinematography is exceptional and is set to a soundtrack to beat all others. The overall feeling, however, must be one of disappointment. The writers not only felt they should bolster the shared feeling between Richard and Francoise mentioned in the book to a full on affair, they also vastly altered the end scene.

The ending certainly needed revising as Garland has a tendency to end his novels abruptly .... and they all lived happily everafter! But to concoct and ending so unimaginative and short was lazy.

Another error, I feel was to omit a majority of Richard's decent into madness when banished to the jungle, and replace it with a preposterous 'computer-game' daydream sequence.

The acting is far superior to the screenplay and full marks to all in the Island community. DiCaprio certainly chose well to use The Beach as his return to the screen after abstaining from acting for almost two years.

All in all, though it is a thoroughly enjoyable film. Some aficionados of the novel will be crying out loud, enough of my pals felt simply et down by a film that promised so much, but still worth watching!

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Content updated: 26/11/2014 20:20

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