About the film
The Beach is a drama film that was released in 2000 and is based on the book of the same name by Alex Garland. The film is rated and has a run time of 119 minutes.
Richard is having the time of his life travelling around Thailand. When staying in a really dodgy hotel, he befriends the guy staying in the room next door, Bugs. While Bugs is a little bit insane, he tells Richard about an island, somewhere untouched by civilisation. The beach is supposed to be a lush paradise, a place of solitary and tropical bliss. Intrigued, along with French travellers Françoise and Étienne, they set off on an adventure to see if this magical sounding place actually exists.
What I thought
Until recently, I never knew that this film was based on a book! Now that I know this though, I would very much like to read it. Anyway, on to the film…
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Richard, a pretty self-obsessed party guy looking for a good time while on his travels. While DiCaprio was not the first choice for the role, I do think that he was probably the best choice. Richard was a really immature character who really didn’t understand the concept of real life and that bad things happen when you don’t listen to the warnings. It is really strange that the protagonist of a film as big as this was someone so unlikeable. I also didn’t like his character’s development either. Over the course of the film, Richard doesn’t really change very much. He stays selfish throughout the whole film and never learns from his mistakes.
The plot, however, was a very interesting one. I loved being able to see the differences between the tourist world of travelling and the places that are left untouched. This is a film with stunning visuals and it really made me want to see more of the world. Even seeing scenes set in a packed and quite insane looking Thailand made me interested in the culture there. However, it was more of the idyllic setting of the beach and the wonderful scenes of remote locations that got me. The Beach is a film that is a feast for the eyes when it comes to place I would want to visit.
While the adventure of getting to the beach was very entertaining, it was the parts where Richard, Françoise and Étienne have finally reached their destination that this film got even better. I really loved the community setting on the beach and getting to know all of the different characters and personalities. All of these different people are what make this film so good and interesting. It was quite strange to see so many people there from different places and I wanted to know more about how they got there and where they managed to get a map from in the first place. What I also really loved was seeing the dynamics of the community and how everything worked under Sal’s command.
One thing that I didn’t necessarily agree with in this film was the romance aspect. Richard lusts after Françoise, even though she has a boyfriend who is travelling with them. I think that this film could have done without the romance, especially as it didn’t matter to the plot. The relationship between Richard and Françoise seems to be a bit of a filler in this story. There isn’t even really much time spent on this aspect of the film which is why I didn’t see the point of it. The relationship doesn’t progress much, the characters do not develop either for better or worse because of it and it wasn’t even passionate or entertaining.
While there are things I don’t like about this film, somehow it is still one of my favourites. The Beach is a film I can happily watch over and over again.