Finally saw "The Beach." <MINOR SPOILERS>
I've been to a couple of small islands in southern Thailand so I must say, I've been meaning to check out The Beach (filmed at Ko Phi Phi, I think) for some time now. Caught it on cable last night and I have to say, the first 90 minutes was fantastic, but the last half-hour really sucked leperous goat choad, and seemed like an entirely different movie in fact.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays a jet-lagged American backpacker, newly arrived in Bangkok, who hears from a drug-hazed guest (Robert Carlyle, incomprehensible accent here) at his fleabag hotel about the perfect secret beach/untouched island paradise...just moments before the guest dies, naturally. DiCaprio's character, Richard, says "fuck it" and sets off to find the beach, accompanied by two young French lovers, the female of whom Richard is attracted to. They finally arrive and find that while it is, indeed, paradise in many ways, 1) they aren't alone, 2) they're a long way from medical help, and 3) the isolation can make one lose touch with reality. I'll stop there.
Fun, engrossing, exotic, occasionally funny and always surprising, The Beach is another home run for post-Trainspotting, pre-Slumdog director Danny Boyle. He brings a great style to the precedings, until things get a bit heavy-handed in the third act and when Richard's character changes so much you no longer recognize - nor root for - him. And therein lies the problem.
First 90 minutes: A-. Last 30 minutes: D+.