Lewis, Sheriff and Tony are three American guys who meet and hang out one summer at the beach huts of Malaysia. There they enjoy the luxuries of women, rum and hashish. As the summer ends, Tony and Sheriff go back to New York, but Lewis decides to go to Borneo to help save the orangutan. But before he got the chance to leave, he was arrested for possession of the leftover hash and sentenced to death because he was considered to be trafficking. Two years go by and Sheriff and Tony are living their lives peacefully in The Big Apple when Lewis lawyer tells them the news three years each if they both go, six years if one goes, Lewis death if neither go. Although they both do not want Lewis to die, they do not know him well enough to really want to sacrifice three years of their life to a Third-World prison. Return to Paradise watches Sheriff and Tony as they struggle to decide in the short period of time.
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Watching "Return To Paradise" was like watching a pitch meeting goneterribly wrong. I could almost hear the writers unveiling the story beforeadisinterested studio exec...Writers: "Three guys are on vacation in Malaysia. Two of them go home, thethird - some sort of Greenpeace kid sticking around to save the endangeredwhatever - gets stuck with everyone's hash. One thing leads to another,Greenpeace Guy goes to jail and he's going to be executed for traffickingifthe other two don't come back and take responsibility forpossession."Studio Exec (Yawn; Beat): "Does it have to be Malaysia?"From there, things get ridiculous. Greenpeace Guy's lawyer (Anne Heche)comes to New York and falls in love with her client's most unlikeable,loathsome, arrogant friend (Vince Vaughn). BUT WAIT....He's not really anyone's friend. He's just some self-serving creep. Butthat's okay because she's not really anyone's lawyer, she's GreenpeaceGuy'sSISTER (collective gasp). And she's just using Self-Serving Guy to saveherbrother, Greenpeace Guy. BUT WAIT...She's not really using anyone. They're really in love. And Self-ServingGuyisn't going back to Malaysia (Did it have to be Malaysia?) to saveGreenpeace Guy. He's going back to show Greenpeace Guy's sister howself-serving he really isn't. BUT WAIT...There's another guy. Equal parts success and conscience. EverythingSelf-Serving Guy isn't. By the end, he becomes everything Self-Serving Guywas, but isn't anymore. We're not really sure how this happens, it justdoes. But it's not really important, because when it's all said and done,he's only there to make Vince Vaughn's character look good after the movieexhausted all of whatever energy it may have had making him look bad.Stillwith me? I didn't think so."Return to Paradise" lacks depth, feeling, direction, conviction,characters, story, cinematography, performances and a decent score. If youwant to watch unlikeable characters wandering aimlessly through thegreatestcrisis of their miserable little lives and then stop on a dime andcontradict everything we've come to know about them for the sake of a plottwist, you should enjoy this movie.If you'd rather see believable characters that you can actually care aboutin a similar predicament without a lame love story and a couple of bogussexscenes, go rent "Midnight Express", directed by Alan Parker, written byOliver Stone. Unlike "Return to Paradise", "Midnight Express" is based onatrue story and made by expert filmmakers. They understood their story,theircharacters, and the reasons for making that film."Return to Paradise" serves as the 90's counterpart to its infinitelybetterpredecessor, like "Independence Day" to "The Day The Earth Stood Still","Close Encounters of the Third Kind", and every other film it ripped offandmisunderstood. It's just another sad example of the truly God-awful stateof moviemaking in this day and age.(Zero Stars)
I just watched "Return to Paradise." Why had I not ever heard of this movie? It is excellent. Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche and Joaquin Phoenix give stunning performances together. Separately, Joaquin Phoenix's--an Uber-talent--impassioned performance surely deserved an Oscar nomination. Those of you who have become Vince Vaughn fans due to his comic turns in such films as Be Cool, Wedding Crashers (let's face it he made the movie), and Starsky & Hutch, should view this movie. He's a fine dramatic actor as well. In fact, Mr. Vaughn is extremely verstaile and believable in any genre. Did you see "Swingers"? Another good film treating us to Vince's complex movie characters. Anne Heche gets some good roles, and her acting was fine in this film. However, any good actor could have done the character justice. A fabulous actor good have given it teeth.This is not a cliched story: Americans vacation overseas, disrespect a country by doing drugs, and get themselves in big trouble because of their ignorance of the law. This movie is more. It makes you think "What are you (am I) made of?"-Do you have integrity?-Will blood or family bonds make you sacrifice that integrity?-Can you be selfless?-Can you endure extreme hardship and come out unscathed?All of these questions will run through your mind as you watch this film. And certainly, you will be answering these questions for days to come after seeing "Return to Paradise."
So I thought that the movie was good. It is incredibly emotional andmoving but the reason it is so good is because of the strongperformances of the cast. I thought Vince Vaughn was amazing, youusually associate him in comedy roles and I was really impressed withhow good he was in this. Anne Heche was also terrific but what gets meis how wonderful Jaoquin Phoenix is! Every movie he has been in he hasgiven a memorable performance and now only after Walk the Line is hegetting the credit he deserves. He is by far way under rated and I ampleased that everyone is finally taking notice on what a phenomenalactor he truly is. I would recommend this movie if for nothing else thesuperb acting from everyone of the cast members, you won't regretseeing it!
i saw return to paradise a few months ago and i decided to review on it. the movie starts off with three guys, lewis, sheriff, and tony on vacation in malaysia. lewis decides to stay and save the aragatans while the other two leave. lewis ends up getting busted for having hashesh in his house. two years later his lawyer goes to new york and tells sheriff and tony that if they don't go back to malaysia and spend three years in jail, lewis will hang. this is an extroadinary movie with a good plot and great acting. although jada pinkett smith really botherd me in this movie. i just wished she would've gotten hit by a truck crossing the road. in the movie, of course.
It's not the sort of question that comes up often for most of us. You have achoice: go back to an idyllic land and 'fess up to your part of a crime,resigning yourself to years in a third-world prison, or you stay at home,ensuring that your buddy in that faraway land will be hanged shortly. Whatdo you do, what do you do?It's that dilemma that haunts two young men as they try to decide wheretheir loyalties lie - to themselves or to their friend's life. Since it'sunlikely anyone watching this movie has been in this situation before, wecan only empathize with their plight. Heck, I have no idea what I'd do if Ihad to make that decision. The thing is, that decision takes up about 75% ofthe film's run time. Only some very strong performances (by Vince Vaughn andAnne Heche) keep the pace from becoming leaden. The movie spends virtuallyno time showing how disgusting and sickening the prisons in this land are;the atmosphere resembles a mystery more than anything else. Will the twoyoung men go back to paradise? For my money, the movie just spent too muchtime in the U.S. and not enough time overseas. Other than that, it wasenjoyable, with a heartfelt ending.
I was enjoying the film right until the end -- those strings theyturned up for the last seven minutes were worse than stringing up Mr.Phoenix. Why do people think we can't get the emotional content of thefilm at the end, without a wash of violins?In my mind I fantasized about that dick weed judge taking a trip to NewYork and running into Vince Vaughn, and Vaughn dishes out a littleBrooklyn alley justice ... Oh, and Vaughn's speech to the lawyer at the end didn't ring true. Hewas way too saintly. I little fear about the reality of his situationwould have been more honest ...
An extremely intriguing movie is 'Return to Paradise'. This movie seemed to skip the cinemas here and went straight to video, for reasons unknown. This was recommended to me after seeing 'Brokedown Palace' but this is a much better movie. This movie will make you think, and will leave you thinking days after. What would you do in a situation where you had to choose 3 years in prison, or the loss of a friend. One criticism here, is that the film should have presented the friends as 3 school buddies who were getting together for all times sake. It would have had much more impact. In the movie they only knew the guy (Phoenix) for 5 weeks. The film does have a few weaknesses such as the love affair between Heche and Vaughn. That spoilt it in a way as it stole the true importance of the movie. Why does Hollywood think they need a love affair in every movie? Heche would have been too wound up about her brother to be thinking of things like that - afterall, the countdown had truly begun - only days to go until her brother was to be hung. Aside from these issues, we have a film that is worth viewing and contains brilliant performances by all cast members especially by Anne Heche. The movie really did deserve cinema exposure.
If Joaquin Phoenix doesn't win best supporting actor this year there betterhave been another damn good performance, he was amazing.
This is an excellent film. It is everything a movie should be; brilliantlywritten, honestly acted, beautifully shot, and intelligently directed.Thereis not a wasted scene or line.Entertainment at its absolute best.
IMHO, this film was a few refinements away from Best Pictureconsideration.In a year filled with copycat films, this stood out as somethingdifferent.The performances by Vince Vaughn and Joaquin Phoenix were outstanding.AnneHeche was so good, it was almost enough to cleanse the bad taste in mymouthfrom "Six Days, Seven Nights".Well, okay... she wasn't THAT good but her performance was fantastic.Very intense and dramatic; not exactly for those who like the "feel good"fare but an engaging and gripping film for the rest ofus.
This movie was excellent in every way except for the silly obligatoryHollywood love scene which was a slap in the face to the reality the filmtried so hard to achieve, and completely ruined the movie for me. I found ithilarious that a great movie like this would have a cartoon love scenethrown in its center. This ruined the power that the film had achieved inits first hour. I find this movie to be a fatally flawed great attempt.
Warning, this review contains huge spoilers!Never have I been so disappointed with myself, then after watching thismovie and realizing what a travesty it is being it took me so long to watchthis movie. (Thanks Mike) You know those movies that you see at the videostore, the movies that have dumb looking covers and have stupiddescriptions. You know the one's, the movies you think would be wastingyour time if you were to watch them. Return to paradise is one of thosemovies, but never consider it a waste of your time to watch.A good friend of mine told me that this movie is just like Brokedown Palace,and knowing how much I loved that movie, he convinced me to rent it and giveit a shot. That was some of the best advise he has given me in a long time. Return to Paradise is a truly original story of two men and their dilemmato return to the scene of a crime to stand trial and save a friends life, orremain free and try to live with the guilt of being responsible for theirfriend's death.Return to Paradise follows the story of three friends who are on vacation onMalaysia. While one of them (Joaquin Phoenix) decides to stay behind tolive there, the other two (Vince Vaughn and David Conrad) go back home tothe states and create lives for themselves. While the three are vacationingthere, they enjoy the fruits of the country, namely the drugs. Two yearslater we catch up with Vaughn and Conrad who find out, from Anne Heche, thattheir friend has spent the last two years in prison due to the drugs theyhad while there. Heche explains to the two that Phoenix is set to beexecuted unless they decide to go back to Malaysia and due some time inprison doe their crime. I wont go on anymore about the plot, just believeme when I say that it's truly a one of a kind movie.Beautiful performances by Joaquin Phoenix, Vince Vaughn, and Anne Heche addto this perfectly written story. What a long way Vaughn has come since ClayPigeons, and The Lost World. Of course this is the second movie (both madein the same year) that Vaughn has teamed up with Anne Heche, the other beingPsycho (1998). You know I have never been a real fan of Joaquin Phoenix, Imean he was wonderful in Gladiator, for which he should have won the AcademyAward (sorry Benicio), but he was magnificent in this movie. He delivers aperformance, albeit a rather small part, almost equal to Brad Pitts' in 12Monkeys (no really). Anne Heche is great as the sister of Phoenix. Someonewho searches out Vaughn and David Conrad, to tell them of what has happenedback in Malaysia. At first she tells them she is his attorney, but by theend of them movie, we find out she is indeed his sister trying to save hislife.While the movie is not exactly like Brokedown Palace, is has somewhatcomparable situations and has a similar theme.
This Film Didnt Get the Recognition nor the Accolades that it deserved! Came and went in the theaters, many people have discovered this Little Gem On Video! More than Just a Typical Prison Film, this is a Film about Friendship and Love! I am sure that everyone who has seen this film ask themselves the same question, "What Would I Have Done In a Situation Like This?". For The People Who have seen the Film, My Honest Answer was "NO WAY WOULD I HAVE GONE BACK!" The acting is exceptional and this should have been Anne Heche's Breakout Performace! Do yourself a favor and See This Film, you wont be dissapointed!
I absolutely loved this movie. It's not everyday that you see a seriousmovie that maintances the plot throughout without getting silly. This movieswas fantastic. I would have loved to have seen more of what happened to thereporter in the movie, I don't want to give anything away so I will not saymore.
First off, let me say that this movie could have been very good. Themovie's premise surprisingly wasn't bad! But then like so many moviesthat start off with good ideas--IT ALL WENT TO HELL! Below are thefollowing reasons why...1. The script was horrible! Half-way through the movie I was convincedthat they had changed writers (which they probably did). I canliterally count the movie's good (and that's being nice)lines usingjust one hand.2. The characters were so unlikable! The lawyer was honestly one of theworst lawyers I have seen in a film to date. She had no idea how tohandle her case. If she had been a responsible person she would havegiven it to someone with more experience. But she wasn't. Instead shecontinued to mess things up not just for her client, oh no, but foralmost EVERYONE around her! And her client, played by an amazing actorwho has shined in so many films, barely lit up the screen. This ofcourse leaves me to my next point...3. Character development, which was just awful! Phoenix was barelygiven any screen time. Why?!!! He was by far the most talented actor inthe cast! And with such little screen time, I didn't get a chance toreally care about his character. As for the other characters, I guessif you consider drinking beer and whining character development, thenthey were completely developed! Well, those were my reasons, hope they helped!
A film for grown-ups (which is a rare thing). Beautifully made, beautifully acted, directed with subtlety and intelligence. Does the fact that you've forgotten someone and moved on with your life mean that you love them any less, or that your responsibility or accountability to them is any less, years later? Are the responsibilities of friendship contingent upon how long you've known that friend, or upon how long it's been since you've seen that friend? The acting and direction are so authentic that I felt like I was watching a documentary rather than a work of fiction. A film about loyalty, decency, friendship, and about "how you act when no one's looking." It's about an unremarkable "regular Joe" who is asked/forced to address the questions: What kind of a person am I, really? Am I a person who can be counted on by his friends? to what extent? Is there anything more important than myself and my life? To what extent is a totally undistinguished person capable of acts of transcendent nobility? What is the meaning of friendship? What rights does friendship confer upon someone to make really extraordinary requests or demands of his friends? Does the essential decency or goodness of one person have an affect on those around him? Do the responsibilities of love (i.e. loyalty) diminish after years of not seeing each other? Is love eternal and internal, or specific to a time and place? Is decency/goodness infectious/contagious? One of the best movies I've ever seen. It restores your faith in cinema as a forum for serious ideas and questions. This really is a film of rare quality.
I've always appreciated the performances by the three lead actors inthis movie (Vaughn, Phoenix & Heche), and this movie just solidifiedit. It was incredible to see a very honest portrayal of pure humanemotions and reactions. The way Sherriff's character was written wasbrilliant. You go from hating him for being a jerk, to understandinghim to loving and crying for him. Or maybe that was just me being aGIRL, lol. At any rate, there's nothing better than when a writer cantruly pull at your emotions through little elaboration. Not to much,not too little, but just as right as baby bear's porridge.One review I read of this movie said that there wasn't enough characterdevelopment. I thought on this and I must disagree. The only way youcan say that is if you need every-sing-word to be spoken to get thepoint. Which, I snobbily say, more than half of America needs to GETand like a movie these days. These actors displayed a great deal ofsubtlety and power in their performances and more words and sceneswould have turned this compelling drama into a horribly depressing andendless "Beyond Rangoon" clichÃ©, minus the lack of culpability of thetwo girls in that film. This was a situation that has and can happen toAmerican travelers, which is why it touched this jaded and HUGE moviefan so deeply. Realizing that your "inalienable" rights don't countwherever you go. That you have to accept responsibility for youractions in life, however injust they may seem to you, because they doaffect others. The M.J. Majors storyline (we...must...get...the...story...told) wasincredibly dubious. It seemed to me that part of the agenda of thetheme was to reinforce just how detrimental the media can be whenthey're more concerned about the, achem, 'public's right to know' thanthose the story involves. It seemed to make the *reporter* out to bethe real villain. It could have been a necessary tidbit to the story asa whole, but it stood out to me to be too much a part of the climacticconflict that wasn't truly needed for the climax itself. I'm going to follow the writer nonetheless.
First, I'm so sorry! Tried for so long to grab the core , but wasmislead by... -clichÃ©. ... At once, the movie hints at "Bangkok Hilton"e.g., as one of three lead characters is imprisoned for drug relatedoffences, but movie soon loses every trace of "depth" being developedof either character or story: You jump from a 'hint'hint'(we don't wantto lose anyone of you spectators)wastebasket-drop of a chuck of "weed"on an Asian island, to a limo in New York(thinking': What happens whenthe "weed" is discovered as it was so obviously dropped, and framed bycamera- can we cope?). Then: "You never had a beer with him..",meaning: You don't know a person at all..?? -aaaaaarghh, maaan... howam I able to review anything on a clichÃ© like that?? Who knows; maybethey had a barbecue at sometime??? As pointed, I tried hard to hang on,through juvenile "buddy-rituals" in far Asia, to clichÃ©-modern-America:'OK, 'I have got myself a job and a wife, so now I have no moralobligations to...' life, myself, friends, or who-ever?? So, again, I'msorry- it's not fair at all, to write a review on basis of NOT havingseen the movie through.. -you have to excuse me, I got theB-movieflu... Form concurred matter! How did it end..? And sorry,again, my friends- bare over with me; I just pre-re-watched "PulpFiction" after, say, 12 years.... don't EVER start with supreme andthen go(this far)below ;o)
All that this painfully depressing film showed me is that the media is anevil force, and that weed should be legalized everywhere. Things I alreadyknew. If you're a conservative anti-drug, pro-deathpenalty facist, maybethis movie will teach you something. If nothing else, it has convinced meto go join Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Can Normal, et al, and neverto go to Malaysia. Joaquin's last act tore my heart out; I'm going to gosmoke a
"RETURN TO PARADISE". What can I say? This is a breath-taking movie. This is the basic layout: Three friends--Sherriff, Tony, and Louis--are on a trip in Malaysia for any reason why guys would go somewhere: for some fun, girls, and some "good old" hash. At the end of their trip, Sherriff and Tony decide to go home to New York, while Louis stays to release orangutans from cages and sheltered environments. So they go home, and he stays. Two years later, they have all gone on with their lives. But what they didn't know whas that Louis never returned home. The reason? This is where Beth comes in. She reveals this information to Sherriff and Tony: Lois was arrested in Malaysia because an over amount of drugs was found in the place where the friends stayed. In eight days, he will be executed by hanging. If Sherriff goes back, Louis and him will stay in prison for six years, and the same goes for Tony. If they both go back, Sherriff, Tony, and Louis will stay for three years. So an important decision thus comes into their minds: either one or both go back and they will all be released as free men, or they will be haunted for the rest of their lives with their murdering decision.This movie is amazing. Vince Vaughn is wonderful as Sherriff, and Anne Heche is absolutely spectacular as Beth. The scenes when their characters are in love make you feel their passion and depth of feeling toward each other.The scenes when the friends try to make their decision make you wonder it they will do the right thing.Like my title says, this is a great movie for friends and lovers everywhere.