View Full Version : The Beach (2000)

tlr online
23-02-05, 01:39
Alex Garland gave birth to the ideology behind The Beach in his first novel, which has become an international best-seller clocking up over 25 million units sold to date and translated into just about every language. While Danny Boyle's adaptation is most excellent, it can never topple the atmosphere and sheer exuberance Garland conveyed in his book. Garland tried to pose in physical form a place of perfection. Of paradise. He broke down the barriers that bind modern society in favour of freedom, and freedom to experiment. His ďbeachĒ represented the release of a personís spirit, without interference or influence. He attempted to eradicate mainstream order and replace with a natural binding of folk who wished to be disconnected from the curse of modern civilisation. He abolished the concept of government and the shackles attached to central control in favour of a common unity shared by a small group of folk who devoted their time to exploring their minds and satisfying their desires. He achieved this perfectly in his book, yet ultimately spoilt the utopia he created by bringing the reader back to reality in the conclusion of his novel.

I mean, who wants real life? For the most part, real life sucks. Personally, Garland managed to connect to every plateau of my existence, but sincerely underestimated my desire to return to ďmainstream normalĒ by shattering the illusion he aided me in creating with the conclusion of his novel. Naughty Garland! ;)

Boyle committed the same crime in his movie adaptation. Having said that - in my humble opinion - The Beach movie (while considerably inferior to the book) is a perfect movie. My only disappointment again was the ending and the fact that Boyle took liberties with the original characters. Richard never did succumb to Franquoise. Nor did Sal ever go to Ko Pa Nan with Richard on a ďrice run.Ē This inclusion was to connect with a mainstream audience, whom Boyle was targeting. This, IMO, made the movie generally acceptable, but muddied the whole point Garland attempted to make. I would hope anyone really searching for Garlandís paradise Ė or at least the message Garland wanted the reader to understand - would have read the book first.

I suspect The Beach can only be truly identified with at a certain phase in a personís life. Perhaps once a person discovers who they are, and their purpose in life, that internal place The Beach attempts to connect with becomes untouchable. I doubt whether anyone can relinquish the natural curiosity to explore, after all thatís what makes us human. Garlandís ďparadiseĒ struck a home run with me, and I freely admit reading his novel changed my outlook and my perception on life. Iíve read the book many many times, and watched the movie only slightly less. One point to note is that I always stop the movie at the point where Franquoise takes a picture of the community on The Beach. Folk jump up, Franquoise snaps, and I hit stop. Thatís where Garland/Boyle should have left the story. Iíve rattled on about day-tripping in previous movie reviews. If I wanted real life, Iíd watch a BBC documentary. StillÖ

ďI still believe in Paradise. But now at least I know itís not someplace you can look for. Because itís not where you go, itís how you feel for a moment in your life. If you find that moment, it lasts forever.Ē

Five stars.

23-02-05, 04:18
That quote is exactly why the story ends back in the real world. It drives home the main message: Paradise is not a physical place. They didnt return from some perfect paradise to go back to reality, back to hellish real life. They returned, enlightened by the fact that they no longer have to search. They can exsist anywhere in the world and still find a Paradise within themselves.

You can look your whole life and never find Paradise because it doesnt exsist in the form you believe it should.
The story HAS to end back in the real world! The end doesnt shatter illusions of Paradise, it creates them! It gives hope that everyone can find Paradise, which makes the ending the most beautiful part for the audience...

I am yet to read the book. I never knew it exsisted before I met you. But I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/smile.gif

23-02-05, 17:31
Never read the novel, but the film struck a real chord with me. It's probably one of my favourite films of recent times.

23-02-05, 18:23
I know a lot about it (it's story), but I havent seen this movie, but I really WANT to! Have to search for DVD now! (last time I searched for it, back in 2002, all were sold out http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/redface.gif )

ďI still believe in Paradise. But now at least I know itís not someplace you can look for. Because itís not where you go, itís how you feel for a moment in your life. If you find that moment, it lasts forever.Ē

tlr online. Well said, I agree! http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/smile.gif

BTW it has a nice video with "All Saints" One of my favourite songs http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/smile.gif

[ 23. February 2005, 18:32: Message edited by: Apofiss ]

23-02-05, 18:30
I spent about £7 on the DVD once (From HMV), and found it to be scratched about halfway through the film. I'll have to get another one soon.