Return to Paradise - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Return to Paradise Reviews

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½ May 18, 2015
Morality plays have been done better and some worse in this average,middle of the road drama.
½ March 10, 2015
09/03/15 An American convicted of drug trafficking in Malaysia faces execution as his attorney races to meet the demands of the Malaysian government --that the poisoners two friends return and serve three years in prison for their part in the offense
December 17, 2014
Remake de Force Majeure de Pierre Jolivet, Return to Paradise est un drame plutôt bien ficelé construit en deux actes bien distincts, montant crescendo dans l'émotion sans pour autant paraître forcé et manipulateur. Le film de Joseph Ruben a aussi la chance d'avoir Vince Vaughn et Anne Heche dans son casting, les deux étant particulièrement bons dans des rôles un peu casse-gueules. Joaquin Phoenix y fait quelques apparitions remarquées, tandis que la musique de Mark Mancina y est parfaite. Bien meilleur que Brokedown Palace, sur le même thème.
September 20, 2014
A good film with a great performance from Joaquin Phoenix.
½ June 20, 2014
compelling,thought provoking,and powerful.
½ June 15, 2014
It's very simple, really: this movie is depressing, and little else. It's sad, it's slow, it's boring, and nothing makes up for it. There's little of note to see here besides the ridiculousness of global policies, and while that may be true, why would anyone in their right mind want to sit through such drivel? The high critic ratings I assume are mostly based on how depressing the movie is rather than its artistic, creative, inspiring, ambitious, or any other sort of entertaining value, because this film has none. Whatever praise I would normally give to actors is diminished by the contrived nature of the writing preventing any sort of logical progress from moving forward, and their broken delivery. Whatever enjoyment I had in the beginning is quickly and permanently shot down. The ending does not suffice. It was released during a time when movies like these were seen as Oscar-worthy, so I can see why a major production company would invest 14 million dollars in it, but I'm glad they lost 6. Hopefully the failure of paradise will lead to less of it in the future.
June 5, 2014
What would you do? That is the question you ask yourself until the very end, which will also be a shocker.
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2014
Fascinating premise but not enough to sustain 100 minutes. Instead it grows bored and throws in an unnecessary romance to try and keep things moving.
October 31, 2013
Two young men living their own lives learn that something they did two years earlier on a holiday in Malasia caused a friend of theirs a death sentence. A young lawyer flies out and tries to persuade the two to go over to Malasia and serve a three year sentence, which will spare their friend his life. Interesting concept, but a storyline that stumbles over the usual clichés, particularly a sudden love affair. Phoenix, in his supporting role, steals the show.
½ October 4, 2013
It was ok...I wasn't surprised at all by any of the "twists" because they foreshadowed what would happen next throughout the whole thing starting about 20 minutes in. It was obvious that Beth wasn't a lawyer, I had it pegged that she was going to sell them out for Lewis and she was his wife or someone attached to him. The only surprise for me was that there really WAS a deal if the other two came that they would have the sentence reduced because that idea seemed pretty sketchy. It started off strong with the whole moral dilemma and gradually revealing the choices that everyone made but the ending was pretty weak. The whole "love story" angle thrown into it was entirely unnecessary because it makes no sense. Who dates someone for what...4 or 5 days and then acts like they've been together for years? Then oh the melodramatic overacting at the end and the rain (fire and rain symbolize cleansing and rebirth) and the I'll wait for yous....so frustrating. With the talent that was in this movie they could have gone a very long way with some understatement, the situation alone was dramatic enough that adding overkill just was....ok overkill. Prime example is the Green Mile- let the audience read your faces. It really was just THIS close to being really good if the scene at the airport was taken out (you know how it is, if there's ever some sort of unfinished dilemma like love then they always wait till after the ticket is bought then stay at the last possible second) I know I'm being rather cynical, but adding romantic drama cliche did nothing but muck it up.
September 2, 2013
We rented this because of the cast, but I was gushing tears halfway through it. It's so terribly sad, it's a lesson, and it is a good one for Globe trotters.
½ August 29, 2013
I think the critics of this film are missing the plot to be quite frank. The storyline was one of the most interesting and thought-provoking plots that I have seen in recent times. It is good to see Vince Vaughn in his youth playing a role that strays away from his usual castings. However whilst overall he put in a good shift, there may have been a few instances when maybe he seemed to struggle with the intensity of the role. Anne Heche was impressive and she clearly illustrates top acting ability throughout the film. Out of everyone though, a special mention must go to Joaquin Phoenix. Whilst he didn't have that much screen-time, he pulled off his role to perfection and it was the type of performance that sticks in the memory long after the movie has finished. There is no reason to miss out on this near classic.
August 11, 2013
mat sallehs. asia. drugs. yawn.

... and suddenly, they had sex. geez.
didn't expect anything from it so guess i wasn't too bummed. it's the kinda flick you'd watch when you don't wanna use/kill a single brain cell. but then, it wasn't even that entertaining.
July 7, 2013
A decent enough drama about 3 friends who party in Malaysia. 1 stays behind and is imprisoned for drug trafficking. He is set to be executed unless his friends return and spend 3 years in prison or 1 spends 6 years incarcerated. Joaquin Phoenix, Vince Vaughn & David Conrad star as the friends and Anne Heche stars as the imprisoned mans lawyer.
Very slow moving with a lot of cliches throughout. The acting is fine, but nothing special.
June 3, 2013
Another tour de force performance by one of the great actors in thr past 20 years, Joaquin Phoenix. The story is heart-wrenching philosophical dilemma. The ending is true to its subject matter. Even the usually hammy Vince Vaughn displays some real acting ability here. One I saw in the theater and still haven't forgotten.
½ May 25, 2013
interesting. good poinient and enlightening. well acted though very much the romance in drama over an international law film and rather a deep shit travelers for whom are easily led astray even if they think there the people if at all.
½ April 21, 2013
Dedicated players craft a solid movie.
December 20, 2012
This movie is intriguing, but the story will piss you off -- there is no justice in this world.
October 11, 2012
Question: Would you go to a Malaysian prison for three years to save the life of a friend that you have not seen for two years? That dilemma is faced by a pair of Americans who holidayed in Asia, smoked some hashies, they returned to the States and their friend who decided to stay on was arrested. Joaquin Phoenix is really good in this role and Vince Vaughn whom I normally do not like watching any movies he is in was incredible. A true moral thriller that is not to be missed.
½ September 18, 2012
Great performances by the cast. It is written to keep you guessing at what Heche's character's actions are motivated by, a heavy amount of ethics, and how awful a situation they'd gotten themselves into collectively.
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