The Beach

Year: 2000
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Alex Garland/John Hodge
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton, Virginie Ledoyen, Robert Carlyle
After a high profile falling out between the producer/director team and their star attraction Ewan McGregor (after studio pressure to cast an American in the lead led them to DiCaprio), The Beach mostly fizzled with critics.

Whether it would have been a better movie with McGregor in the lead will never be known, but it's essentially the lot of the twenty-something backpacker writ large with added drama; the drug taking, internet cafes, eternal search for a Shangri-La untainted by tourism and camaraderie of the subculture.

Hearing rumours of an almost mythical place from the loon (Carlyle) in the next room at his seamy Bangkok hotel, Richard (DiCaprio) goes in search of The Beach in the company of a young French couple.

On the other side of an island of drug growers, they find a community cut off from civilisation who live in a beautiful inlet and eke out the ultimate utopian living in the jungle.

What looks like paradise soon comes undone as Richard and the group learn that they carry the same human frailties as fear, betrayal and jealousy with them wherever they go, and the whole thing culminates in a slightly ridiculous and over the top stand off (which wouldn't be out of place in an action movie) between the residents and the band of drug growers with whom they share an uneasy truce for the privilege of living on the island.

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