Paradise (2005)

“You’re useless!”

Words: Desmond Childs

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Have you ever wondered how well you would cope with a series of unfortunate events. Would you crumble under pressure? Would death be a welcome release? What about your character? Your integrity? If you were stranded on a desert island with someone, would they trust you enough to co-exist? And there is always the matter of their character. You could never really know whether you’re hold up with a killer. Could you?

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The two people this movie deal with being stranded on an island, their own way. The young man who until being lost at sea, was a rude, salty fisherman would didn’t really care about anything or anybody. He seemed to respect his dad, but their relationship was a rocky one. To my surprise he has a girlfriend, and he’s pretty rude and rough to her as well. There’s even something that takes place early on in the movie that really makes his character an awful human being. The woman, in the prime of her career as a anchorwoman-turned-political candidate isn’t any more likable than the guy. She reeks of selfishness and carries a sense of entitlement with her, wherever she goes.  She seems to confuse being a strong, independent woman with being a loud, unpleasant, irritant to any and everybody she comes across. These two people are who we’re stuck with, and they make the adventure anything but a paradise.

Once the odd couple are stranded at sea, it’s clear the audience is in for a sour, salty adventure. The idea behind this  movie seems to be to strip these characters down to their very cores. The fisherman has lived his life very dependent on his father, and is now having to fend for himself. The anchorwoman is the daughter of a very successful politician. She’s intelligent, but impatient, and her rocky personality makes it hard for others to feel sorry for her. Naturally, the two of them refuse to get along for the majority of the picture, and resolve to fending for themselves. Lots of things take place within this movie as the days spent on the island soon become weeks. The supposed transformation or magnification of each character into these stripped down, ugly creatures is somewhat interesting to watch. The two of them become these primitive beings thriving on small fish, plants, and salty water. Sex and manipulation power the anchorwoman as she prefers to sit back and reap the benefits of someone else’s hard work. The fisherman becomes this submissive, hardworking grunt who spends hours everyday fishing and hunting for berries; all the while seeking some sort of redemption for his dark past. At one point, the two separate to opposite sides of the island, and you truly get the sense that they won’t make it another week or so. And then, something happens. And the event helps devolve the movie into this wild, sexually perverse tailspin. Was what transpired possible within this world? Sure. Did it make it any easier to watch unfold? Nope.

After we finally slog through this movie, we’re left with an ambiguous ending that felt more like director Toru Kamei stopping the project from going over budget. With that being said, this movie is pretty good for about an hour and some change. It just becomes to reliant on “shocking” the audience instead of telling a complete story. I figure that’s why it runs out of steam at the end. There was nothing left to shock the audience with. The redemption story  we’re given here for one of the characters is passable. Also leaving the other character stuck in a metaphorical rut was an interesting way to end the movie. All in all, I could see myself recommending this movie to a specific type of moviegoers. Trust me, it ain’t for everybody. But if you liked watching Tom Hanks make friends with a volleyball, there’s a chance you may enjoy watching two horrible people receive their final comeuppance.

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I could not find a trailer of the movie, so I settled on another DVD cover shot. The movie itself is available (as of June 18, 2013) on Asian Crush.

-Neo

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