Paradise Beach review - Why have the French started copying the Americans?

Paradise Beach review - Why have the French started copying the Americans?
Movie Rated

The 21st century had arrived and France gave us memorable films, Paris, I Love You (Paris, je t'aime), Amelie, Blue Is The Warmest Colour to name a few but lately on Netflix, they have gone back to the style of American films again. Earlier this year, Back To School seemed no less like an American teenage movie only with a different backdrop and now Paradise Beach is the French doing a bad job at copying America, except they do a pathetic job. As Prof Higgins had rightly said in My Fair Lady, ‘The French don’t care what they do actually, as long as they pronounce in properly.’ Paradise Beach loses its opportunity to be interesting. It would be advisable not to take the title literally and expect this French film to be another feel-good love story. This crime-drama is dark, gritty and requires immense patience. Director and co-writer Xavier Durringer takes an angle to the modern gangster drama where he follows a bunch of crooks staging and executing a heist. The gangsters are black (racist again) and six of them clump inside a getaway car where they have their cash-stashed. No one stops and cares to take care of their comrades, hence when one of the crooks gets shot, he gets left behind with an injury. Years pass by and Mehdi played by Sami Bouajila goes to Phuket after serving time in prison. He gets to know that his brother Hicham lives an extravagant life with a beachside restaurant. Needless to mention, he has wife and children and a rich father-in-law, the presence of whom explains everything. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang members, Winny (Kool Shen), Franck (Hugo Becker), Zak (Seth Gueko) and Goyave (Hubert Kounde), own a strip club and big boats. Here’s basically where you get the picture, considering what Thailand is reputed to be. Now picture the food and you have designed the sets already. When Mehdi comes to take his share of the money, which is 400 grands he learns that its all gone due to the tsunami and the recession. But he won’t take no for an answer, not after spending 15 years in prison and taking a bullet for him. You don’t need excessive time to realise that this film is Reservoir Dogs scripted all over again if there was anything memorable about Paradise Beach it has to be Mehdi’s words, ‘If you think violence doesn’t solve things, you didn’t hit hard enough.’ You can’t help but wonder whether he would learn the lesson after receiving a severe blow from an audience hoping to see some worthy content. It would be too strong to explicitly say that the writing remains mediocre...maybe a couple more drafts and a change of director (maybe Quentin Tarantino) and this film would have broken grounds. Women here hardly play a role apart from posing with the men in bikinis and doing their jobs as an exotic dancer. Their only job here remains giving the men a blow-job. Rating: 1/5

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