Return To Paradise

G

Return to Paradise is precisely the kind of film I tend to like; one which could go many ways, and one which, if done right, could have a true and profound moral. And it didn’t dissapoint.

Vince Vaughn plays a New York limo driver nicknamed Sheriff, who learns that Louis, a pal of his whom he partied in Malaysia with years earlier is about to be executed for drug trafficking (dealing). And this is the situation — if he and his friend Tony (David Conrad) come back to Malaysia and accept their share of the responsibility for the drugs, them Louis will not be executed, but he, Sheriff and Tony will have to spend three years a piece in a Malaysian hell-prison. If only one of them comes back then it will be six years a piece. If neither of them come back, Louis hangs.

Anne Heche, in a terrific performance plays Louis’ lawyer, who is strangely desperate to save Louis’ life by getting eyither Sheriff, Tony or both to come back. She is the best character in the film, as we can support her efforts.

Directed by Joseph Ruben (Money Train, The Good Son), Return to Paradise is a surprisingly moving and thought-provoking film — would you give up three years of your life to save a casual pal whom you didn’t know all that well anyway? At some points, the movie requires us to suspend disbelief and ignore its implausible moments, but that’s understandable, and there isn’t enough of it to really cause a problem. The ending of the film is peculiar, but I liked it, as a decision is actually made, and the problem is not resolved with a few throws of the fist or pulls of the

trigger.

Vince Vaughn is magnificent, as is Anne Heche, and I’m eagerly awaiting their next collaboration in Gus Van Sant’s remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho.

-- Eugene Novikov

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