He needn’t wonder long. A wired Brit (Robert Carlyle) tells of an island so clean, so idyllic, so unknown, that it is akin to paradise on earth. Of course he then spends ninety minutes scratching invisible fleas, but that doesn’t matter, Richard is convinced.
The next morning the crazy guy turns up dead, and Richard decides to find the island using a map found in his room. With a delightful young French couple he is on his way.
It proves hard enough to get there, and once they arrive they quickly realise it is a secret for a reason; heavily armed guards watch over vast crops of illegal marijuana that cover much of the island.
Most, but not all. After the initial scare the trio chance upon what they really came for, a hippie commune of sorts informally run by Sal (Tilda Swinton), where everyone mucks in to provide for all, leaving much time for bathing and fraternising
It is schoolies week without the alcohol and calls home for money. But with all of the usual spoiled brats and petulant idiots.
This is like Justin Bieber taking a role as a heavyweight boxer. Leo tries to turn this into his own Apocalypse Now descent into personal hell, but there isn’t the material here to make much of anything, and at this age Di Caprio wasn’t the actor he eventually became.
The Beach is an impassioned two hour speech about the merits of sensible shoes. You might admire the energy and the effort, but you ultimately wonder “why bother?”
Final Rating – 5.5 / 10. This film is like a nice trip to a real beach, it would be better spent with a good book.