Return to Paradise

Watch Return to Paradise

"Give up three years of their lives or give up the life of their friend. They have eight days to decide."
  • R
  • 1998
  • 1 hr 51 min
  • 6.9  (15,285)
  • 54

Return to Paradise is a 1998 drama-thriller directed by Joseph Ruben, starring Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche and Joaquin Phoenix. It is based on a screenplay by Wesley Strick and Bruce Robinson, which is itself a remake of the French film "Force majeure", released in 1989. The story is set in Malaysia, where three American friends, Lewis (Phoenix), Sheriff (Vaughn), and Tony (David Conrad) are enjoying a carefree vacation. They meet a beautiful girl named Beth (Heche) and together they indulge in drugs and parties. However, their paradise is disrupted when they are arrested for possession of hashish, a crime punishable by death in Malaysia.

After spending some time in jail, they are visited by a lawyer who informs them that they can either face the death penalty or plead guilty and spend three years in prison. However, Tony is sent back to America, as he has a pre-existing medical condition that requires immediate treatment. Lewis and Sheriff agree to plead guilty and serve their time in prison, but Tony promises to return and complete their sentence.

Two years later, Tony is nowhere to be found and Lewis receives a call from him revealing that he cannot return to Malaysia. Now, Lewis and Sheriff must make a decision whether to return and risk facing the death penalty or let their friend serve the sentence alone. As they struggle with their own moral dilemmas, Beth enters the picture and further complicates their already difficult situation.

The film deals with themes of morality, friendship, sacrifice and the clash of cultures. The three main characters are grappling with the consequences of their actions and the price they must pay for their carelessness. While Sheriff and Lewis are willing to return to save their friend, they must come to terms with the fact that Tony's predicament is ultimately their own doing. Is it worth risking their own lives for a friend they may have never seen again if they had not been caught?

The film features powerful performances from the cast. Joaquin Phoenix, Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn all give impressive and emotionally charged performances that bring the characters to life. Phoenix's portrayal of Lewis is particularly strong as he conveys the fear and desperation of someone facing the possibility of death.

Return to Paradise boasts a beautiful setting with stunning shots of Malaysia's scenic islands and lush forests. The film also has a tense and suspenseful score that builds as the characters' situation becomes more dire and their choices become more difficult.

Overall, Return to Paradise is a thought-provoking and gripping film that explores the price of personal freedom and the cost of blind loyalty. The film's intense storyline and strong performances keep viewers on the edge of their seats and leave a lasting impression.

Return to Paradise is a 1998 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 51 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 54.

Return to Paradise
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 51 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (15,285)
  • Metascore