Every crime comes with a price. The question is, who will pay for it? ‘Paradise Beach’ begins with an answer to this question. Six men rob a bank and make more than two million dollars as the loot. However, their plan meets a hitch when the cops show up unexpectedly. This leads to a shootout, where one of the cops is killed. Out of the six robbers, one, named Mehdi, is hit by a bullet and is unable to move.
Seeing no hope for his escape, he asks the others to run away with the money. Once caught, he is not only charged for robbery, but also for the death of the cop, even though it wasn’t his bullet that killed him. For fifteen years, Mehdi keeps his mouth shut about the identity and the whereabouts of the rest of the gang, all in the hopes that if he looks out for them now, they will look out for him when he gets out of jail. But the reality is entirely different.
After his release, he travels to Phuket, where the rest of the gang has a built a life for themselves. When he sees that all of them are well-settled, he asks for his share, which should have been close to half a million. However, they inform him that they lost all the money when the tsunami hit Thailand and they can’t pay him back with whatever they have now. This angers Mehdi and he decides to take what’s his forcibly if it won’t be surrendered to him willingly.
The summary of ‘Paradise Beach’ invokes an interesting premise, at least on paper. It shows promise for crime, drama, action, and intriguing characters- a perfect film to settle down with on a lazy weekend. The story has enough potential and you’d think that when someone is spending so much money to make this film, they should be doing it right. In this case, you’d be terribly wrong.
I’ll cut to the chase and state it right here, ‘Paradise Beach’ is not worth your time. In the overabundance of all kinds of movies on Netflix, there is some great stuff like ‘Roma’; there are some films that won’t win any awards but are still lovable; there are films that don’t receive favourable reviews but that doesn’t stop them from being guilty pleasures; there are the ones that critics hail as the best but don’t receive notice of the viewers. And then there are the ones like ‘Paradise Beach’, which perform a great job of unifying the critics and the audience under one opinion. They all hate it.
No matter what film I watch, I always try to find something good to say about it. Even if I don’t personally like it very much, I consider the opinions of others who would find it a better, more acceptable, watch than I did. I tried something similar in the case of this film but failed miserably.
To begin with the flaws, and to state them simply, the film is badly written. It has tiringly bland dialogues and the story has no life at all. There is no sense to the characters, and the plot, if there is any, is directionless. You begin with one thing, then it turns into something else, then you are back there again, and, in the end, it is all just one big circle that you keep running around. The characters, too, aren’t focused on what they want. They randomly stray from their motives, and even if their actions can be justified, there is no real value to it. The delivery of it is so banal that you become impassive after some time.
There are scenes that were supposed to act as twists that no one saw coming, there were things that were supposed to add emotional value to the film, the fate of the characters was supposed to stir something inside you. But none of this happens. Even if the actors try their best to salvage whatever they can from the script, their efforts are completely in vain. In fact, sometimes, it looks like they are trying too hard and this makes it even worse. The potential of the story has been so badly wasted that it is almost a disgrace. It would have been better for it to focus on a very limited number of characters. But it unnecessarily increases the count and as a result, all of it falls apart.
At its best, ‘Paradise Beach’ serves as an advertisement for Thailand. The beautiful beaches, the villas and the food of Phuket is the only thing that you can actually concentrate on. For those who want to plan a vacation there, strip the film of its story, and you have a montage of the spectacular vistas of the city. Beyond this, there is nothing else that this film has to offer.
Read More: Where Was ‘Paradise Beach’ Filmed?