Escobar: Paradise Lost

2015

Escobar: Paradise Lost

Critics Consensus

Its focus drifts frustratingly away from the titular druglord, but Escobar: Paradise Lost remains a mildly diverting drama, thanks largely to Benicio del Toro's glowering performance.

55%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 56

49%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,645
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Movie Info

For Pablo Escobar (Benicio Del Toro), family is everything. When young surfer Nick (Josh Hutcherson) falls for Escobar's niece, he finds his life on the line when he's pulled into the dangerous world of the family business. (C) TWC Radius

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Critic Reviews for Escobar: Paradise Lost

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (25)

  • The movie contains a subtly crazed performance from Benicio del Toro as Escobar: one moment fooling around with his children in the hacienda swimming pool, fondling his gold taps, the next executing his enemies.

    Aug 20, 2015 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Every time del Toro's onscreen, you're so blown away that you end up angry at what might have been.

    Aug 20, 2015 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Hutcherson - blandly conflicted, woodenly agonised - is just too blank for the screen time he sucks up.

    Aug 20, 2015 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Mike McCahill

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • Escobar: Paradise Lost, as promising as it often is, feels like two barely connected half-movies.

    Jun 26, 2015 | Full Review…
  • [Del Toro is] really very good here, as he almost always is, no matter the quality of the film around him. The rest of the movie? Not so much.

    Jun 26, 2015 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • When you have the fortune of landing an actor like Del Toro, it's almost criminal to spend so much time watching the scales fall from an innocent's eyes when we could be watching a master actor convey quiet, sleepy-eyed, mumbling menace.

    Jun 25, 2015 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Escobar: Paradise Lost

  • Mar 27, 2016
    I quite enjoyed this movie even though it has no basis in actual fact and it doesn't use as much of Escobar's 'exploits' if you will in telling its story. They do include Escobar ordering the assassination of the Minister of Justice, who was going after him and his cartel, as sort of Nick's breaking point when he knows he has to get out of Colombia. And it's out of date too, since the film takes place from the late 80s to the early 90s and the Minister of Justice was assassinated in 1984. Minor details, I know, but still. With that said, however, I still did like how they mixed Nick in with Escobar's niece and how he starts to become closer and closer to Escobar. It's not like they did a great job at this, because it also wants to be a romance story about Maria and Nick's love for each other, while also trying to manage the fact that Maria's uncle is a drug kingpin responsible for who knows how many deaths. So the film has some tonal issues for sure. There's even a point where Maria just sort of disappears from the film. I honestly think that the movie would've been better without the romance aspects. I know this is how Nick ends up getting involved with Escobar, but I'm sure they could've found another way to have Nick meet him. Maybe Escobar doesn't kill the gang who had their dog attack nick, maybe Escobar pays them off to leave the kid alone and that's how they meet. It might not be believable, but at least it's something. And it's not even that I thought Josh Hutcherson and Claudia Traisac lacked chemistry, far from it, it's just that their romance never really feels like it's that important a part of the story. It gives Nick motivation to get out of Colombia, but his brother, his sister-in-law and his nephew were also with him in Colombia, so that should've been enough. I don't know, at least it's something that would've made the film a little more tonally consistent. Thankfully, though, the film moves at a fairly brisk pace, so while I may not have thought the romance subplot was that important, at the very least it didn't drag the movie down. The acting, of course, is excellent. Well, at least Benicio Del Toro is. I believe that Benicio, while being a hugely respected actor, is also fairly underrated in my opinion. This is a guy who doesn't have to scream or raise his voice in order for you to be scared of him. He has that presence, a quiet intensity that is, really, only rivaled by Michael Shannon. He's more subtle and understated that your typically great actor, like a Leonardo Di Caprio. Not saying that Leo can't do subtle and understated, it's just an example. When Benicio speaks, he has your attention, even if he's speaking softly. He has that kind of power over the camera, where your eyes are drawn to him no matter what he does. And I think that's where his strengths lie as an actor. So, yea, if there's any reason to watch this film, it's all because of Benicio Del Toro. Josh Hutcherson does a good job here, but it's obvious that he's not at Benicio's level. The film does get a little dramatic at the end, once it's revealed that Nick was supposed to be murdered after a mission he was sent on. I do like, however, how Nick wasn't really able to get close to Escobar after the betrayal was revealed. Escobar doesn't get his comeuppance at Nick's hands which would, obviously, be altering history in an completely unbelievable manner. Escobar hands himself over to the authorities and Nick is off finally being pushed to murder at the hands of Escobar's goons. I liked that. All in all, I thought this was a good movie. Nothing outstanding since it, sadly, didn't involve more Escobar's real-life exploits, but Benicio Del Toro's performance and the film, when it focuses more on the seedier aspects of the business and not the romance, manages to entertain on those fronts. It's tonal issues definitely do a lot to keep it from reaching greatness however. I'd still recommend it if you have Amazon Prime. Good movie right here.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Feb 13, 2016
    It could have been a topnotch Escobar biopic especially with Benicio Del Toro's gripping performance. Maybe the addition of Josh Hutcherson's character and story was for the purpose of reaching a wider audience for the film. He was good but the character was unnecessary.
    Maymay A Super Reviewer
  • Jul 12, 2015
    So what that Escobar is not the protagonist, when Del Toro's magnetic presence looms over the whole film like a terrifying menace and we are offered a second half that is so nerve-wracking? - despite the first half being too conventional and the supporting characters frustratingly one-dimensional.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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