Opening

91% Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Jul 11
100% Boyhood Jul 11
15% Rage Jul 11
21% A Long Way Down Jul 11
—— The Class Of '92 Jul 08

Top Box Office

17% Transformers: Age of Extinction $37.1M
23% Tammy $21.6M
85% 22 Jump Street $9.8M
30% Deliver Us from Evil $9.7M
92% How to Train Your Dragon 2 $9.0M
47% Earth to Echo $8.4M
49% Maleficent $6.2M
53% Jersey Boys $5.2M
24% Think Like a Man Too $4.9M
90% Edge of Tomorrow $3.7M

Coming Soon

—— The Purge: Anarchy Jul 18
—— Sex Tape Jul 18
42% Wish I Was Here Jul 18
—— Hercules Jul 25
—— Lucy Jul 25

Premieres Tonight

100% Masters of Sex: Season 2
67% Ray Donovan: Season 2
79% The Strain: Season 1

New Episodes Tonight

—— Devious Maids: Season 2
—— Endeavour: Season 2
100% Falling Skies: Season 4
79% Halt and Catch Fire: Season 1
64% The Last Ship: Season 1
100% Last Tango in Halifax: Season 2
69% The Leftovers: Season 1
50% The Musketeers: Season 1
46% Reckless: Season 1
54% Salem: Season 1
50% True Blood: Season 7
—— Unforgettable: Season 2
80% Vicious: Season 1
—— Witches of East End: Season 2

Certified Fresh TV

—— 24: Live Another Day: Season 9
84% Extant: Season 1
79% Halt and Catch Fire: Season 1
73% Murder in the First: Season 1
97% Orange is the New Black: Season 2
97% Orphan Black: Season 2
79% Penny Dreadful: Season 1
84% Welcome to Sweden: Season 1

Return to Paradise (1998)

tomatometer

69

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.

audience

75

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 8,010

My Rating

Movie Info

This remake of Force Majeure (aka Uncontrollable Circumstances), a 1989 film with Alan Bates and Kristin Scott Thomas, recalls the prison plight depicted in Midnight Express (1978). Rambling around Asia, getting high and just having a good time, are three young men -- Sheriff (Vince Vaughn), Lewis (Joaquin Phoenix), and Tony (David Conrad). Sheriff and Tony say goodbye to Lewis, a conscientious Greenpeace activist and nature-lover who stays on to rescue endangered Borneo orangutans. Two years

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Wesley Strick, Bruce Robinson

Jan 11, 2000

PolyGram Video

Watch It Now

Cast

ADVERTISEMENT

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (13) | DVD (5)

It's a painful prospect, to be sure, and Sheriff, in particular, insists he's no hero, but the next hour or so of handwringing conjures little suspense.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What if director Joseph Ruben didn't resort to B-movie suspense tricks? What if the fine cast wasn't saddled with a shamelessly contrived script by Wesley Strick and Bruce Robinson?

May 11, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If it's to be experienced at all, Return to Paradise is best seen as a lively piece of pulp, not a profound exploration of the vagaries of the human soul.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a major example of a good idea, one that could have worked, being submitted to a Hollywood tag-team makeover.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: CNN.com
CNN.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like Sheriff and Tony, we're pulled both ways by the story: We want them to go back and save Lewis, but we're not exactly sure we'd do the same. That's the Prisoner's Dilemma in a nutshell.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though the clock ticks relentlessly enough to sustain the story's tension, the film finally seems to be a character study in search of a gripping plot.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite solid performances from the leads, it comes shrouded in a heavy cloud of ethics-class complications that makes it feel like a "dilemma of the week" TV movie.

October 4, 2009 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Vince Vaughn finally gives a performance putting him in the serious actor category, Joaquin Phoenix is notable and Anne Heche is believable as the impassioned attorney fighting for the life of her client.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat | Comment (1)
Film Threat

Involving drama about our responsibilities to others.

January 24, 2005 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

The acting is generally good -- Vaughn is very convincing as a man forced to make a difficult decision, while Joaquin Phoenix even more convincingly plays a man condemned to die.

July 28, 2004 Full Review
rec.arts.movies.reviews

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.

May 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Blather
Film Blather

Fine, low-key performances by Ann Heche as the attorney and Vince Vaughn and David Conrad as the two men she must persuade help sustain our interest in the characters. But after the wrong turn, the story feels as forced as it once was exciting.

May 20, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

As disturbing as it is excellent.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

Truly Unforgettable. A tour-de-force for Phoenix.

September 18, 2002
Moviehole

The whole thing is quite thought provoking, and it's well written even though there are some flaws in the script.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

Vaughn labors mightily under the obviousness of the script, while managing to reveal a fragile but profound fear of being an aging frat boy who longs to realize a finer, better self, only to be petrified that quality isn't within him.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

What one ambitious person does in New York City affects the deliberations of a judge in Malaysia.

March 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

A quiet, thoughtful movie about hard moral choices, truth, love, accountability, crime, punishment and friendship.

January 1, 2001 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Granted, Vaughn's character arc is a wonder to behold, but I can't help but think that these characters just aren't the sort of guys anyone's really going to give a damn about.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Phoenix, who was memorable in To Die For, is unearthly here as a man reduced to a wraith by miserable prison conditions and hopelessness. As an actor, he seems to have abandoned his body entirely in order to communicate only through his spirit.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

Return to Paradise isn't a bad film. It's just one that doesn't live up to its potential.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Cinematter
Cinematter

...It all seems to be a predictable formula-driven film instead of one filled with an unpredictable raw energy.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Return to Paradise

review soon...
May 1, 2013
LWOODS04
♥˩ƳИИ ƜѲѲƉƧ♥

Super Reviewer

An original, thought-provoking film concerning three friends who party hard in Malaysia one summer (Vince Vaughn, Joaquin Phoenix, and David Conrad), where illegal substances are used frequently and the concentration is on just "having a good time". Flash forward a few years later, two of the buds (Vaughn and Conrad) already returned to the states while one of them (Phoenix) stayed behind, and a tenacious lawyer (Anne Heche) appears out of nowhere to inform them that their friend has been arrested for possession of hash, enough to put him to death under Malaysian laws. He is sentenced to hang, with the only exception being if one of the friends or both of them return home, in which case the three of them would do six or three years together respectively. It is a somewhat complicated plot, almost to the point where you start to question if this could actually happen (it might, just not here in the States), but the driving force behind this film remains the trio of performances from Vaughn (who has never been better), Phoenix (whose performance is simply chilling) and Heche (an utterly phenomenal turn), and how you sympathize with these characters. However, the film totally careens off course in its last third, when it seems as if a Hollywood studio kicked in the door and wrecked the creative writing process. It is a shame this movie becomes just "average" when the finale goes for conventional Hollywood story swings, including a laughable final shot that is supposed to be dramatic and uplifting, as well as a severe leap in logic concerning the fate of Vaughn's character. Not a bad movie by any means, but it could have been good or great if it wasn't hamstrung by a poorly put-together final act.
November 10, 2011
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

The intricate workings of the moral dilemma somehow overcome the melodrama. You could complain that the concept deserved to no give-ins to schmaltz from the directors, actors and the soundtrack... but including the schmaltz makes this movie a twisted, tragic version of The Hangover.
November 2, 2010
adammahler1

Super Reviewer

Coincidentally, got to see 2 movies focusing more or less on someone dealing with the fear to go to prison. While one movie (The 25th Hour) was a disappointment, this one was an amazing experience. The scene depicting Joaquin Phoenix's condition in the prison was brilliant. Joaquin Phoenix played that part incredibly well, keeping it simple, sans any overacting. Highly recommended.





SPOILERS:
The ending was what I though it'd be, but it didn't happen the way I thought. My idea was that ultimately Lewis (Joaquin Phoenix) would ask Sheriff (Vince Vaughn) and Tony (David Conrad) to not to admit their part in crime & return. He wishes to be hanged because he feels that he'd never be able to get back to what he was (completely sane) after the bitter years he spent in prison. He now looks up on his execution as his freedom.

While I found the actual ending equally okay, my only problem was with the all-of-a-sudden "media" twist which was a bit hard to digest. Overlooking that, it was wonderfully done.
May 18, 2010
imrealgod

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Return to Paradise on our Movie forum!

What's Hot On RT

Box Office
Box Office

Planet Of The Apes Is No. 1

<em>Unbroken</em>
Unbroken

Trailer for Angelina Jolie's latest

<em>The Hunger Games</em>
The Hunger Games

New Mockingjay teaser trailer

<em>Jimi</em> Trailer
Jimi Trailer

Clips: Andre 3000 plays Hendrix!

Summer Scorecard
Summer Scorecard

Where does Planet of the Apes rank?

Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile