Return to Paradise - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Return to Paradise Reviews

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October 4, 2009
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
June 24, 2006
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.
Anthony Miele
Film Threat
December 6, 2005
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Michael E. Grost
Classic Film and Television
January 24, 2005
Involving drama about our responsibilities to others.
Dragan Antulov
July 28, 2004
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.
Full Review| Original Score: 6/10
Eugene Novikov
Film Blather
May 22, 2003
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.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Leonard Schwarz
Palo Alto Weekly
May 20, 2003
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.
| Original Score: 3/4
John R. McEwen
Film Quips Online
February 8, 2003
As disturbing as it is excellent.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Clint Morris
September 18, 2002
Truly Unforgettable. A tour-de-force for Phoenix.
| Original Score: 3/5
Kevin N. Laforest
Montreal Film Journal
September 10, 2002
The whole thing is quite thought provoking, and it's well written even though there are some flaws in the script.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Luisa F. Ribeiro
Boxoffice Magazine
June 5, 2002
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice
March 2, 2002
What one ambitious person does in New York City affects the deliberations of a judge in Malaysia.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
May 11, 2001
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?
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
February 14, 2001
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Robert Roten
Laramie Movie Scope
January 1, 2001
A quiet, thoughtful movie about hard moral choices, truth, love, accountability, crime, punishment and friendship.
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
Top Critic
Janet Maslin
New York Times
January 1, 2000
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.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
January 1, 2000
The best performance in the film belongs to Anne Heche, who continues to impress with her range. Her work here is passionate, and she effectively conveys the inner conflict of a woman whose divided loyalties tear at her soul.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 1, 2000
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
January 1, 2000
...It all seems to be a predictable formula-driven film instead of one filled with an unpredictable raw energy.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
MaryAnn Johanson
Flick Filosopher
January 1, 2000
Discovering that his father's opinion of him is as low as his opinion of himself, Vaughn conveys his dismay and a new self-awareness with a furrow of his brow and a kind of panic in his eyes, an economy of physicality that nevertheless speaks volumes.
Full Review | Original Score: 9/10
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