The Beach (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Danny Boyle|
|Produced by||Andrew Macdonald|
|Screenplay by||John Hodge|
|Based on||The Beach
by Alex Garland
|Music by||Angelo Badalamenti
|Editing by||Masahiro Hirakubo|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Running time||115 minutes|
The Beach is a 2000 adventure drama film directed by Danny Boyle and based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Alex Garland, which was adapted for the film by John Hodge. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and features Tilda Swinton, Robert Carlyle, Virginie Ledoyen and Guillaume Canet. It was filmed on the Thai island Koh Phi Phi.
Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), an American college student in Southeast Asia for the summer, goes to Thailand with the intention of experiencing something radically different from his familiar life. He meets Daffy (Robert Carlyle), a Scottish traveler who is crazy and rants on about a beach paradise on a secret island and the parasites of civilization. Daffy later commits suicide but leaves Richard a map to the island, convincing him that it exists.
Richard meets Françoise (Virginie Ledoyen) and her boyfriend, Étienne (Guillaume Canet), and persuades them to accompany him to the island, partly out of an infatuation with Françoise. They travel from Bangkok to the shores of Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, where Richard befriends a pair of American surfers. They talk excitedly about the myth of the beach and how it has an almost unlimited supply of marijuana. Richard does not admit his knowledge, but copies his map and slides it under their door the next morning.
To finally reach the island, Richard, Françoise and Étienne must swim across to it. When they first arrive on the island, they come across an enormous marijuana plantation guarded by local farmers armed with AK-47 assault rifles. They manage to evade detection. After jumping off a high cliff and landing in a lake below, they are seen by Keaty (Paterson Joseph), who takes them to the beach community. They are cautiously interrogated by the island's leader Sal (Tilda Swinton) regarding their knowledge of the island, but are accepted. The trio are introduced to everybody and over the next few days go on to become integrated into the community.
One night while Richard and Françoise are walking down the beach, she tells him that she is falling in love with him. They swim out into the ocean to look at a swarm of bioluminescent plankton, where Françoise kisses Richard and has sex with him on the beach. Despite their attempts to keep the romance a secret, the whole island finds out about it, including Étienne. Although devastated, Étienne says he will not stand in their way if Francoise is happier with Richard.
At first the island and its community seem to live up to their idyllic reputation. Richard swims out into the ocean to catch fish with a harpoon and is attacked by a young mako shark, but he stabs it to death with a knife, which gains him much admiration. Events take a turn for the worse when Richard is chosen to accompany Sal to the mainland to acquire supplies, where Richard is inadvertently reunited with the American surfers who are preparing to go to the beach with two girls. Sal overhears their conversation about the copy of the map and confronts Richard, who admits his guilt. In exchange for Sal's silence and Richard's return to the island, Sal blackmails Richard into having sex with her that night.
When they return to the island, everything returns to normal until the Swedish fishermen Sten (Magnus Lindgren) and Christo (Staffan Kihlbom) are attacked by a shark while fishing in the ocean. Sten dies almost immediately and Christo is severely injured. The only options for Christo are to go to the mainland to get medical help or stay on the island and take his chances. Christo chooses to stay, not wanting to go near the water after his encounter with the shark, but Sal refuses to allow a doctor to come to the island. Christo's condition worsens, consistently lowering the morale of the whole community, so they take him out into the middle of the jungle and leave him to die. However, Étienne, disgusted by the group's decision, vows to stay with Christo.
Later, Sal observes the American surfers on the neighbouring island and assigns Richard the task of watching them so he can obtain the map and destroy it. While he is waiting for the surfers to arrive, Françoise shows up, furious and heartbroken, saying that Sal has told everybody about her affair with Richard at Koh Phangan. Richard cannot cope with his task and retreats into the forest where he becomes temporarily insane, believing that he is communing with the long-dead Daffy, and by this point declaiming (in voice over narration) "the longer I'm away from the others, the less I miss them". He evades the other islanders and sets lethal traps in an attempt to keep them at bay, at times hallucinating that he is a character in a video game.
Meanwhile, the surfers reach the island but are discovered and killed by the marijuana farmers before they can get to the beach. Richard witnesses their executions and retreats to the community to convince Étienne and Françoise to leave the island, believing that all their lives are now in danger. Étienne refuses, not wanting to leave the emaciated Christo, whose leg has become gangrenous. When the other two briefly leave the tent, Richard tearfully smothers Christo to death in a mercy killing to put him out of his misery. When he leaves the tent however, he is struck across the face by a farmer and knocked unconscious.
He wakes up in a tent in pain, surrounded by the community and the farmers. The farmers approach Sal, with whom they had an agreement where the lead farmer (Abhijati 'Meuk' Jusakul) gives her a gun loaded with a single bullet and an ultimatum: shoot Richard dead and be allowed to stay, or leave the island forever. Sal approaches Richard and fires an empty chamber, throwing the crowd into chaos. The lead farmer smiles as the community instantly disintegrates. Sal collapses in a flood of tears, as the crowd, now in hysterics, flees en masse to get away from the island. Together, they swim back to the mainland and go their separate ways.
The film ends with Richard stopping by an internet cafe to check his e-mail. He receives a message from Françoise entitled "beach life" which contains a photograph of the beach community and an animated handwritten inscription over the image: 'Parallel Universe. Love, Françoise x'.
Differences from the novel 
As well as minor differences, the major ones are that Richard is British and Sal is American in the novel. Richard's obsession with War and video games is explained a bit more in the novel. He never sleeps with Françoise despite having feelings for her, which he thinks are reciprocated, saying that he considers Étienne a good guy and would not want to do that to him. He also never sleeps with Sal, nor is it Sal who accompanies him to the mainland for supplies, but rather a character called Jed who does not appear in the film, who in the book is the person who leads Richard, Etienne and Françoise to the community, not Keaty. The ending is different, with Richard and a handful of others attempting to escape from the now crumbling community. In the epilogue, after their successful escape, they move into their respective lives. Richard loses touch with Étienne and Françoise yet finds it hard to be totally freed of the effects of his experiences in that "parallel universe".
Ewan McGregor was cast as the main character before leaving due to disputes with the director. It was speculated that Boyle was offered additional funding under the condition that DiCaprio be cast and his character made American.
Real-life drama unfurled on set one day when the cast and crew were involved in a boating accident during production. It was reported that the incident involved both Boyle and DiCaprio. No one was injured.
The beach seen in the film is not the same as in real life. There is a gap between mountains on the actual beach in Thailand. The special effects crew digitally added some of the surrounding mountains during the post-production phase. The actual beach was also transformed from its natural look. It is reported that crew members flattened the beach with a tractor, much to the locals' dismay. The Tsunami of 2004, however, has reshaped the beach to its natural look.
The map in the film was illustrated by the author of the book that The Beach was based upon, Alex Garland. He received credit for this as the cartographer.
Controversy arose during the making of the film due to 20th Century Fox's bulldozing and landscaping of the natural beach setting of Ko Phi Phi Lee to make it more "paradise-like". The production altered some sand dunes and cleared some coconut trees and grass to widen the beach. Fox set aside a fund to reconstruct and return the beach to its natural state; however, lawsuits were filed by environmentalists who believed the damage to the ecosystem was permanent and restoration attempts had failed.
The lawsuits dragged on for years. In 2006, Thailand's Supreme Court upheld an appellate court ruling that the filming had harmed the environment and ordered that damage assessments be made. Defendants in the case included 20th Century Fox and some Thai government officials.
After the film premiered in Thailand in 2000, some Thai politicians were upset at the way Thailand was depicted in the film and called for it to be banned. The depiction of the drug culture was said to give Thailand a bad image and having a statue of Buddha in a bar was cited as "blasphemous".
|The Beach: Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by various artists|
|Released||21 February 2000|
|Genre||Electronica, rock, Britpop|
|Danny Boyle film soundtrack chronology|
The soundtrack for the film features "8 Ball" by Underworld, as well as tracks by Orbital, Moby, Blur, New Order, Sugar Ray, Faithless, Leftfield, and others. The songs "Synasthasia" by Junkie XL, "Out of Control" by The Chemical Brothers, "Fiesta Conga" by Movin' Melodies, "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley, "Neon Reprise" by Lunatic Calm and "Smoke Two Joints" by Chris Kay and Michael Kay were also included in the movie but omitted from the soundtrack. The All Saints song "Pure Shores" topped the UK Singles Chart. The soundtrack was co-produced by Pete Tong.
The film score was composed by Angelo Badalamenti, and a separate album containing selections of his score was released as well.
- "Snakeblood" (composed by Neil Barnes and Paul Daley; performed by Leftfield) – 5:39
- "Pure Shores" (composed by William Orbit and Shaznay Lewis; performed by All Saints) – 4:24
- "Porcelain" (composed and performed by Moby) – 3:58
- "Voices" (composed by Stephen Spencer, Paul Geoffrey Spencer & Scott Rosser; performed by Dario G featuring Vanessa Quinones) – 5:19
- "8 Ball" (composed by Rick Smith, Karl Hyde and Darren Emerson; performed by Underworld) – 8:51
- "Spinning Away" (composed by Brian Eno and John Cale; performed by Sugar Ray) – 4:24
- "Return of Django" (composed by Lee "Scratch" Perry; performed by Asian Dub Foundation featuring Harry Beckett and Simon de Souza) – 4:17
- Originally performed by The Upsetters
- "On Your Own (Crouch End Broadway Mix)" (composed and performed by Blur) – 3:32
- "Yéké Yéké (Hardfloor Edit)" (composed and performed by Mory Kante; remix by Hardfloor) – 3:55
- "Woozy" (composed and performed by Faithless) – 7:53
- "Richard, It's Business as Usual" (composed and performed by Barry Adamson) – 4:17
- "Brutal" (composed and performed by New Order) – 4:49
- "Lonely Soul" (composed by Richard Ashcroft, Wil Malone & J. Davis; performed by UNKLE featuring Richard Ashcroft) – 8:53
- "Beached" (composed by Angelo Badalamenti; performed by Orbital and Angelo Badalamenti) – 6:45
Critical response 
DiCaprio's fame post-Titanic seemed to help the success of this film, which came out less than three years after the James Cameron blockbuster. CNN's Paul Clinton said "Leonardo DiCaprio's main fan base of screaming adolescent girls won't be disappointed with The Beach. The majority of the film displays the titanic-size young heartthrob sans his shirt in this story about the pseudo-angst and alienation of a young man from the United States escaping civilization and his computer-obsessed generation." He agreed with most others that The Beach was "nothing to write home about". DiCaprio was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actor for his work on the film.
The budget of the film was $US50 million. Global takings totaled just over $US144 million, of which $US39 million was from the USA.
Home video 
The film has been released on VHS and DVD. The standard DVD release included nine scenes that were deleted from the movie, including an alternative ending which to a degree resembles the one in the novel, were later included in a Special Edition DVD release, along with Danny Boyle's commentary on what might have been their purpose. There is also an alternative ending which depicts Sal committing suicide and everyone loading up on a boat from the raft.
See also 
- The Beach (2000) Trivia. IMDB.com
- The Beach (2000) Trivia. IMDB.com
- The Beach (2000) Trivia. IMDB.com
- Vidal, John. October 29 1999. DiCaprio film-makers face storm over paradise lost, The Guardian, retrieved via ThaiStudents.com on December 3, 2006.
- The Nation, December 1, 2006. Filming 'damaged beach' (retrieved on December 3, 2006).
- BBC, 9 March 2000. Thai MPs call for Beach ban (retrieved on December 3, 2000).
- "The Beach". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- "Beach, The". MetaCritic. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- "The Beach (2000)". Box Office Mojo. 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- The Beach at the Internet Movie Database
- The Beach at AllRovi
- The Beach at the TCM Movie Database
- The Beach at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Beach at Box Office Mojo
- Where was ‘The Beach’ Filmed?
- Storming ‘The Beach’, Rolf Potts, Salon.com
- Backstage on "The Beach"[dead link]
- Environmental campaign against the movie[dead link]
- Movie Page Review
- Entertainment Weekly Review
- CNN Review