If you found something wonderful that would stay that way only if no one else found out about it, what would you do? It's a test of values that few of us will ever face, and possibly for the better.
I remember hearing awful reviews of The Beach when it was released in 2000. Mindful of saving my $8, I didn't venture to the theater to verify the rotten buzz for myself. Was it a bad storyline that only a lovestruck teenage girl could look past amid a post-Titanic infatuation with Leonardo DiCaprio?
As it turns out, The Beach is much more cerebral than that. The plot is not particularly complicated -- in fact, not much more complicated than what I alluded to in the first sentence of this review. Rather, the story is an examination of the human thought process, and of how character forms based on the circumstances we are presented.
Richard (DiCaprio) is a young American who is disillusioned by the prospect of settling into a run-of-the-mill job without ever having explored anything more about the world. Instead, he ventures to the most exotic place on the globe that he can find where he meets up with fellow adventure-seekers Francoise (Virginie Ledoyen) and Étienne (Guillaume Canet). Soon, they learn of a secret island paradise, but upon surviving the venture to get to it, must survive those who came before them.
I'll bet this movie was at least partly the inspiration for the "Survivor" reality show, which also debuted in 2000. Even though The Beach didn't have a big box-office run, at least someone saw the potential underlying this story's premise and ran with it.