A Disappointing, Formulaic Slice Of Action
Paradise Beach is a French film set in Southern Thailand featuring a mixture of French and English dialogue. This action thriller has enough meat to its plot for you to see it through to the end but the formulaic manner the film achieves this, complete with its anguished protagonist and questionable aesthetic cues, make this a film that fails to really hit the mark.
The story begins with a heist gone wrong. As the police arrive on scene and our robbers make haste with the cash, Mehdi is the unfortunate casualty and spends 15 years in prison. From here we jump forward to his release, as he flies out to Phuket and reunites with his comrades. After enjoying a heady cocktail of drink and half-naked girls dancing, he soon learns that all is not what it seems. Unfortunately his share of the money has gone and in order to get it back, he upsets the delicate balance the group have been enjoying all these years and causes hell to break loose.
In terms of plot development and pacing, Paradise Beach sticks to all the usual formulaic beats, leading up to a suitably predictable ending. Along the way, Paradise Beach is quick to dump exposition on us, explaining on several occasions that Mehdi has been in prison and how dangerous he is. This is stressed numerous times and unfortunately the film falls into the classic trap of failing to “show don’t tell”. It doesn’t help either that early on the film does little to really build empathy with this group of characters.
Paradise Beach offers up some bizarre stylistic choices too. From the dialogue switching between French and English, sometimes in the same conversation, across to fading edits and long musical montages that feel like music videos, Paradise Beach attempts to emulate the style of Fast and the Furious without the charisma or chops to pull it off. To be fair, there are some nice artistic shots late on involving characters fading from a photo but beyond that, this French picture feels like it’s going for a particular tone and doesn’t quite pull it off.
As a Friday night flick, Paradise Beach is unlikely to scratch that action-thriller itch. There are numerous films in this genre that have managed to pull off this idea with more flair and creativity, leaving Paradise Beach striving for paradise but clutching at disappointment instead.