The Beach (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's notes

The Beach was a much-hyped 20th Century Fox star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio, his official follow-up to Titanic. It opened in February of 2000 on 2500 screens, and raked in a respectable $15 million on its opening weekend, $34 million in the first three weeks. And that was about it. That was as far as hype could carry it. Movie reviewers saw it and dropped a massive dump on it (19% positive reviews, according to Rotten Tomatoes). Moviegoers saw it and told their friends not to bother. When the hype was over, there was nothing left except a bloated, muddled, unimportant, unintelligent, unentertaining movie that is bad, bad, bad.

Oh, it looks fine, the performing is satisfactory, the score is pretty cool, and the first five minutes are striking and absorbing thanks to some charismatic bantering between Robert Carlyle and Leo while they gad about exotic Bangkok settings. And that's it. That absorbs the positives. Fifty million dollars bought five minutes of good footage and then some pretty tropical locales and blathering.

Where to start. Let's see. Our three heroes make it to an island which is near the secret one they are seeking. They are standing on the edge of a forest, look across, and see the secret island about two miles away. They think they may not be able to make it. Now, do they cut off a few branches to create a makeshift raft, or even use a branch so they have something to hang onto in case they get tired? Remember, they are surrounded by about a gazillion trees of varying sizes and shapes. Nope. They dive in and swim for it. Death before dishonor.

Then they get to the island. Remember they are on an island, on a beach, looking for a beach. Now if you were in that situation, what do you think would be the most likely route you would take on a small island? I'll bet you would walk along the beach. Not our heroes. They go inland, so that they can meet some evil gun-toting movieland Asian druglords, and give themselves a chance to get lost forever in the terrain. By the way, what is your tropical paradise like? Mine is druglord-free. They flee the druglords but, damn, it's just a small, uncharted island. I'm pretty sure the baddies can find them eventually.

They then follow a stream downstream. Downstream? To where? To the ocean? Didn't they just come from there? If they are already at sea level, how can the stream be going lower? Well, guess what? It apparently goes a lot lower, because they come to a gigantic waterfall and don't know how to get down.  Virginie Ledoyen decides to jump. Yup, they don't know how deep the water is below the falls, but they decide to make the leap anyway. Nothing so scary about the jump, but anything less than 20 feet of water depth, and they're toast, but no problem. This is the movies. They go for it. Now that they've followed a stream downstream for a long time and jumped down a waterfall, I suppose they must be about 300 feet below sea level, but they are discovered by a guy who takes them to the beach they were seeking. This beach is apparently at a different sea level.

You get the picture. It just goes on like that. But that's just trivia compared to the real problem, which is that there is absolutely no reason for anyone to enjoy the life they lead in this beach commune. They look at the perfect beach and the perfect lagoon and beam proudly. You ever been to tropical beaches? How long do you think you can last without other things to occupy your mind? Even if you're a real volleyball freak, you're going to flee from the sun in a short time, and then what makes any place a good place to be? The people you share it with. Perhaps I might be willing to give up rum and nude bars and libraries and SportsCenter and the internet and medical care and dental hygiene and Mozart and Ray Charles and convenience stores if I could spend my life with consistently interesting people. But these people don't do much of anything except fish and smoke dope and play the drums, like some kind of Young Protestant vision of what paradise might be like, without thinking about how long it would be before that stuff would be really boring. For me, twenty minutes. Maybe some of you could last two weeks - but a lifetime? A freakin' lifetime? Without even boat drinks and Jimmy Buffett? C'mon, now. DiCaprio leaves the island briefly for a shopping trip to a city, and this makes him long even more for the unspoiled island. Yeah, I agree with that. After 10 minutes of watching American tourists in Bangkok, we'd all be ready to head back to the island, but give us an overnight in Paris or San Francisco or Barcelona, and most of us would say "sayonara" to Gilligan pretty damned fast.

As you may know, the production of the movie was rife with controversy. Apparently the islands in that part of the world didn't look like what they wanted tropical islands to look like, so they dragged in tons of coconut palms, planted them, and virtually destroyed the ecosystem of their micro-environment. Unfortunately, the print of the film survived. How does a studio exec approve fifty million simoleans for a script like this?

On the nudity side, sadly for us, this island community must be the only place in the world where European women wear their tops to go to the beach. In addition to the complete lack of realism in this situation, it also serves to deprive us of some much-needed eye candy. The only real nudity is a topless night swim from Virginie Ledoyen. Tilda Swinton and Leo did a sex scene where she may or may not have been naked behind a curtain, but if you can't even tell whether she's naked, it can't really be that good a scene, can it? The real romance, between DiCaprio and Ledoyen, is completely lifeless. They have no chemistry together, and we can't even understand why they like each other, since they seem to have neither heat nor compatibility.



  • Commentary by: director Danny Boyle
  • Deleted Scenes and Alternate Ending
  • All Saints music video "Pure Shores"
  • Storyboard Gallery and TV spots
  • Widescreen anamorphic 2.35:1


Virginie Ledoyen - brief, dark breasts in a day-for-night shot in shallow water

Tuna's notes

Scoopy presented a pretty harsh review of "The Beach," be he was actually much too soft on it. "The Beach" is unparalleled among films made in the last 10 years. It will become the standard by which bad films are measured. For director Danny Boyle, this film remains the nadir of his career and a blot on an otherwise excellent record of films rated six or higher at IMDb:

  1. (8.00) - Trainspotting (1996)
  2. (7.40) - Shallow Grave (1994)
  3. (7.30) - 28 Days Later... (2002)
  4. (7.30) - Millions (2004)
  5. (6.37) - Alien Love Triangle (2002)
  6. (6.30) - A Life Less Ordinary (1997)
  7. (5.90) - The Beach (2000/I)

DiCaprio plays an American who is bored and wants to experience something different. What he never realizes is that it is he who is boring. Among the high points of the film:

  • The film runs for nearly two hours, yet requires constant voice-over to cover the ten minutes of plot.
  • DiCaprio would rather play with his Game Boy then have sex with Ledoyen.
  • Despite a total lack of sunscreen, none of these caucasians get sunburned.
  • Everything DiCaprio puts in his mouth from the jungle is a hallucinogen.
  • It is filmed in scenic Bangkok, and a tropical jungle, yet has nearly no memorable cinematography.
  • Fish are easily speared in the surf by a crowd of splashing bathers.
  • They take the clothes off of Virginie Ledoyen, who is worth seeing naked, then shoot the scene so dark that you can't see her.
  • As if demented Thai drug growers with automatic weapons were not villain enough, they create the most predatory sharks yet filmed.
  • The moral seems to be that if you are kicked out of paradise, you can always console yourself with an iMac.

The film left me wondering if DiCaprio has any talent, or if he got a lucky role with Titanic. He better choose his future projects more carefully.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus:  two stars out of four. James Berardinelli 2/4, Roger Ebert 2/4.


The People Vote ...

  • Box Office Mojo. It earned $39 million in the USA, but did click better with overseas audiences. It grossed more than $100m outside the USA.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a D+. A slick film in terms of production values, but with no reason to exist.

Return to the Movie House home page