This is one of those films that makes you wish you could run up to the director, smack him across the face (preferably with a piece of pipe), and ask him, "What the hell were you thinking?"
Like so many others, this is one of those films that makes you wish you could run up to the director, smack him across the face (preferably with a piece of pipe), and ask him, "What the hell were you thinking?" In this case, Danny ("Trainspotting") Boyle would be the intended victim since, as his film evolves, his brain and his story appear to deteriorate in equal measure.
In a nutshell, Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), Francoise (Virginie Ledoyen), and Ètienne (Guillaume Canet) find a mysterious island and an ideal community. Things are good for awhile, then they suck. It's sort of like an adult "Lord of the Flies." The supposed motivation for Richard is the search for paradise. Thus you'll find yourself chanting under your breath, and perhaps out loud, after a bit, "Time to split, Mensa-boy," as Richard and friends encounter one signal after another that things will end badly.
For instance, the first thing the three kids run into on the island is a marijuana farm and several Asian men carrying automatic weapons. I don't know what kind of paradise Richard has in mind, but mine doesn't include Asian men carrying automatic weapons. After discovering the community of people living on another part of the island and led, more or less, by Sal (Tilda Swinton), many other things go wrong. Among them, a community member is bitten by a shark. Instead of helping the poor guy, Sal has him tossed into the woods to rot while the rest of the people play volleyball. At this point, I turn to anybody who'll listen and say, "Time to go." There's nothing keeping Richard there, but he stays because if he leaves, Danny Boyle has to find real work.
Now, I don't want to ruin the ending or anything, so I'll just ask this very simple question: How often does an island-bound marijuana farmer with a second-grade education (I'm guessing) suddenly transform into Sigmund fucking Freud? You'll see what I mean at the end; that is, if you can make it there.
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