Return to Paradise (film)

Infobox Film
name = Return to Paradise

image_size = 200px
caption = Promotional movie poster for the film
director = Joseph Ruben
producer = David Arnold
Ezra Swerdlow
writer = Wesley Strick
Bruce Robinson
starring = Anne Heche
Joaquin Phoenix
Vince Vaughn
music = Mark Mancina
cinematography = Reynaldo Villalobos
editing = Craig McKay
Andrew Mondshein
distributor = Universal Pictures
released = flagicon|US August 10, 1998 (premiere)
August 14 (wide)
flagicon|Spain November 6
flagicon|Argentina February 11, 1999
flagicon|Sweden March 26
flagicon|UK April 16
flagicon|Israel July 22
flagicon|Kuwait March 20, 2000
runtime = 111 min.
country = U.S.A.
language = English
amg_id = 1:163115
imdb_id = 0124595

"Return to Paradise" is a 1998 film directed by Joseph Ruben, written by Wesley Strick and Bruce Robinson and starring Anne Heche, Joaquin Phoenix and Vince Vaughn.

Tagline: "Give up three years of their lives or give up the life of their friend. They have eight days to decide."

Plot summary

After a vacation in Malaysia, one of three friends is arrested for possession of drugs. The Malaysian government sends word to his companions demanding that they return to Malaysia to take their fair share of the responsibility, or their friend will hang in eight days.

Similarities to other films

"Return to Paradise" is a remake of a French film released in 1989, "Force majeure". "Return to Paradise" was released a year before "Brokedown Palace" and is noted for being similar, in that it also concerns a young American trapped in a Southeast Asian legal system, and difficult choices that must be made by that foreigner's traveling companions.


"Return to Paradise" begins with a silent montage of a fun holiday in a Malaysian paradise showing the three main male characters in the movie having a spectacular time. The opening scenes of the movie remain in Malaysia with a series of pulsating events providing the men with a myriad of hardships, including one such scene when the young men are almost run over by a car when riding a bicycle and another when they are pressured into buying some tonic drink from Malaysian locals. Eventually, the three men, Lewis McBride (Joaquin Phoenix), Sheriff (Vince Vaughn) and Tony (David Conrad) wind up at their beach front house on the ocean pondering their future in the island paradise. After some time, Tony and Sheriff decide to return to New York, while Lewis, being a "greeny", wishes to travel to Borneo to save endangered orangutans. As an ironic joke before leaving, Sheriff asks Lewis, "Why did we get so much hash anyway,?" which eventually proves to be Lewis' death sentence. The movie then returns to New York, with Sheriff working as a limo driver and Tony as a construction worker. Eventually, a woman, claiming to be a lawyer, shows up on each of their proverbial door-steps dealing them with a harsh proposition. She informs them that their friend Lewis has served the last 2 years in the Penang prison in Malaysia, because of a great deal of hash found at his (and the other 2 men's former houses). Frighteningly, the lady (Beth, played by Anne Heche), reveals that he will receive the death sentence unless one or both of the men return to share responsibility. After a grueling eight days to make a decision, and a heated affair between Beth and Sheriff, both men decide to return to Malaysia. Upon their arrival, all seems well until they visit the prison to see Lewis and see the desecrated mess that will be their homes for the next three years. Lewis has also turned crazy from the constant malnourishment and torture inflicted upon him. Upon their drive back to the US embassy, Beth reveals that she is not actually a lawyer, rather Lewis' sister. This forces Tony to fly back to America out of fear of the Malaysian justice system. Sheriff seems to follow Tony, but returns to the courtroom in which Lewis is being tried. The judge seems heartened by this act of courage and bravery, until he discovers a news clipping from an American Newspaper blaming the Malaysian justice system. Because of this, he becomes infuriated and gives Lewis death, despite the presence of Sheriff. He also gives Sheriff an unknown period of jail-time. The movie then cuts to the prison where Lewis is shown screaming and crying, whilst being brought to his imminent execution. While being carried across the courtyard to the gallows, Sheriff comes to his window and calls out to Lewis in an attempt to calm him down. When the noose is being tied around Lewis' neck, Sheriff keeps calling out that 'he is there' and "I'm with you", as well as "look at me". Lewis stops crying and looks up at Sheriff, upon which he is dropped from the platform and killed. After this, Beth and Sheriff have a meeting, where he assures Beth that Lewis left with pride and dignity to save his reputation. Upon this Beth becomes emotional and kisses Sheriff as a sign of their love and leaves saying "I'll wait for you until you're released", upon when Sheriff replies, "I know you will!"

External links

*imdb title|id=0124595|title=Return to Paradise

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