“The Beach” – Leonardo Dicaprio


                The Beach takes place in the in the exotic areas of Thailand on an overlooked island. The island has been taken over by a group of adventure seeking teens and adults that have collectively formed over the course of six years (2000’s). Starring the up and comer (at the time) Leonardo Dicaprio.], The Beach is an adventure film that any aspiring adventure/thrill seeker would enjoy tremendously!


                In the introduction to The Beach, you are taken to the thrilling regions of Bangkok, Thailand with a thrill seeking teen Richard (Dicaprio). Richard is walking about the city to the sound of partying and his own narration when he is greeted by a man who invites him for a drink of snake’s blood that he is pressured into drinking (showing his thirst for a thrill). Richard later stumbles upon an unsettling and cheap motel in the city, where he meets a disturbed man named Daffy. A hyper and unrested Daffy sparks a rather intruding conversation with Richard through a screen window separating their motel rooms. The conversation leads to Richard obtaining a map that he will soon find to be the answer to what could cure his hunger for an outstanding adventure. Richard then accuses Daffy of being “Not right in the head” and promptly goes to sleep. As he awakes the next morning he finds that Daffy has committed suicide in the midst of his motel room. Pretty strange for the first five minutes of a movie isn’t it. Well this movie will keep you in a state much similar to how you felt watching these brutal events. Dicaprio is a very accomplished actor, acting since the age of fourteen and being in several films that have gotten him nominated for numerous awards. Richard is a hybrid between Leonardo Dicaprio and himself. I say this because every role Dicaprio fulfills has a certain personality no one else could portray. As the film is pushed a little a further, Richard arrives to the location marked on his map, “The Beach” where he finds fields of drugs and a newfound home. He is greeted by a tall man discussing the long jump off of a waterfall that everyone has to make. After the run in, Richard seeks out the village and meets all of the new faces. Things seem to be going rather smoothly, or maybe that’s what the cast and crew want you to think. When supply is scarce and the leader of the village, Sal, asks Richard to go into town and buy supplies they have a sexual encounter. What will Richard’s girlfriend think?  What will Sal’s husband think?  What will the village say?  You find yourself asking all of these questions and feeling uneasy as the film takes insane turns for the worst.


                One aspect that the crew and actors captured particularly well was the use of camera angles. The film uses an extremely broad use of camera angles and continuous shots. One scene that sticks out is a scene where Richard is going through a mental breakdown as he slowly captures a caterpillar and brings the insect to his mouth then slowly consumes it in one take. When he gulps down the insect he steps into a stream of light exposing his face, the beads of sweat sparkle intensely on his rather dirty skin because of the angle of the camera. This is an extremely difficult atmosphere that Dicaprio and the crew were able to capture extremely well.


                The next aspect that is very impressive is the acting! Every actor in the picture did a phenomenal job capturing the atmosphere of the setting.  The movie did not try to lure you in with sexual or rather gory scenes. Instead the actors fulfilled the obligation to make this film as believable as possible. A nice example is when Richard is swimming to the island and is pranked into believing there is a shark stalking him by the French couple he befriends. Dicaprio seemed to have no problem capturing the actions of an extremely startled teen because he was able to have a hardened attitude, with an extremely frightened sub-expression to his actions. This film really established a firm grip on younger actors in Dicaprios favor.


                This film hit me hard, I was completely astonished by the film overall. I was able to picture myself in the situations and settings very well! I think anyone else would be able to do so just as easily as I was able to. From the color tints to the actor’s costumes, I give this film a very strong and deserving five stars. I strongly recommend this to anyone that likes movies on group rebellion or teens finding a place to fit in.