Screen Reviews

Return To Paradise

directed by Joseph Ruben

starring Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche

Possessing illegal recreational drugs in a foreign country can be a bad idea. The justice system in some of these countries can be somewhat harsher and more unpredictable than even the somewhat-imperfect system we have here in the U.S.A.

Three friends are vacationing in Malaysia in the film Return To Paradise. Drugs and prostitutes are all part of the vacation in this third world tropical jungle “paradise.” The three guys have become very close in four months of debauchery. Sherrif (Vince Vaughn) and Tony (David Conrad) are leaving a day early to go back to New York City. Lewis (Joaquin Phoenix) is going a separate way to help orangutans in a clinic in another jungle. Because of a series of careless moves, Lewis goes to prison. Two years later Sherrif and Tony find out about it when lawyer Beth Eastern (Anne Heche) tells them they must go back to save Lewis’s life. The deal is that Tony and Sherrif will serve three years each to spare their friend’s life.

The rest of the film is a nightmare for Tony and Sherrif, where they must decide of their own free will to endure a living hell out of conscience, morality and friendship. Return To Paradise is a solid examination of all our worst nightmares. It is one thing to have horrible thing happen over which you have no control. It is entirely another to make a choice because it is the right thing to do.

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