Just watched the film, The Beach (2000) with my mum. It surprises me that this film received lots of negative reviews at the time. I’ve always been an admirer of it. Perhaps this is ‘cos I am older than those who were in their 20s in 2000. I don’t have experience of the round-the-world backpacking lifestyle so for me the film provided something of an insight… maybe?
It’s true that The Beach does mash up lots of different genres and some of the direction is gimmicky with strong hints of Apocalypse Now, Heart of Darkness, Lord of the Flies, but I think the central message resonates still:
Nothing must spoil the fun. The pursuit of pleasure is all and anyone or anything that gets in the way must be hidden, killed or otherwise ‘dealt’ with.
It is a moral tale that always leaves me thinking. The character of Cristo – or rather his situation – speaks to me every time. He didn’t die of his injury but neither does he get better. People who lie around being chronically ill/injured/mad/poor/old/disabled… they have to be hidden from sight, in the tent in a darker part of the beach, in order that everyone else can carry on regardless. It’s a policy that this present (UK) government pushes to the max.
For the Christian maybe the message is that there is no earthly paradise, pursuing such an idea is pursuing a false god, for we are ‘fallen’, broken, messed up, and thus bound to make a mess of everything with our wants, desires, jealousies, greed etc. ‘Paradise’ can come only through setting our sights on God, living by God’s wishes for us. I don’t know. Confused.