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Return to Paradise (1998)

Vince Vaughn , Anne Heche , Joseph Ruben  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, Joaquin Phoenix, David Conrad, Vera Farmiga
  • Directors: Joseph Ruben
  • Writers: Wesley Strick, Bruce Robinson
  • Producers: Alain Bernheim, Steve Golin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios - TGG Direct
  • DVD Release Date: November 5, 2002
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007ELEY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,032 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Return to Paradise" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Editorial Reviews

    In this tense, twisted thriller of passion and betrayal, two men face the decision of a lifetime. They had been three buddies, living the life in Malaysia, a life of drugs, sex and freedom. Sheriff and Tony return to America, but Lewis decided to stay on. Two years later, a lawyer arrives in New York. Lewis is rotting in a prison cell - sentenced to die because of them. The only way he can be saved is if Sheriff and Tony return to serve three years in a living hell. Tony is a successful architect, about to be married; Sheriff a cynical limo-driver with nothing to lose. Why should they care? One woman must do whatever it takes to persuade them they must care, and she only has five days to do it. But as the day of execution draws closer, no one can predict what fate has in store for those who stay and those who leave and Return to Paradise.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars AN INVENTIVE AND PROFOUND MODERN DAY MORALITY TALE... January 4, 2003
    This is a wonderfully creative movie, with top-notch directing and award caliber performances by a talented cast. The premise is a fairly simple one. Three young men, Sheriff (Vincent Vaughn), Tony (David Conrad), and Louis (Joaquin Phoenix), who previously didn't know one another, team up in Malaysia and party hearty. They have fun drinking, smoking hashish, and picking up girls. Sheriff and Tony head back to the states, leaving Louis behind, as he has a wildlife conservation idea involving orangutans that he wishes to pursue while in Malaysia. Before they go, Sheriff makes it a point to leave his dope stash in the house in which Louis is remaining. Later, the police come to search the premises on a matter unrelated to the dope stash. When they find it, however, they arrest Louis, who literally has been left holding the bag.
    Two years later, Anne Heche enters the picture as a lawyer, ostensibly working on behalf of her client, Louis. She seeks out Sheriff and Tony with a proposition. It seems that while Sheriff and Tony have been getting on with their lives, Louis has been rotting in a Malaysian prison for the past two years and living in sheer terror. You see, Louis is scheduled to be executed in eight days as a drug dealer, as the amount of dope that had been left behind and discovered by the police was just over a threshold amount that would classify it as being for distribution, rather than for personal use. The only hope Louis has of staying alive is if Sheriff and Tony go back to Malaysia to take responsibility for their part in this and serve three years each. If only one returns, then the sole returnee faces six years. Will it be all for one and one for all? Will Louis live to personally thank his friends? Watch the movie and find out.
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    9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars what would you do? May 2, 2005
    When I was at university I was asked to write an essay on the ethical issues in this film. Wow, the whole idea really blows me away. What would you do it their position? It really is a tough one.

    It's one of those films where you can really put yourself in their shoes, not that anyone would want to. The story itself is touching and I think it's well made. I can't stop thinking about it.

    Oh.. and Vince Vaughn is so hot!

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    11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
    In the American adaptation of "Force majeure," we get a great setup. "Return to Paradise" poses the moral dilemma of whether someone would be willing to give up several years of freedom to save another's life. It's a fantastic, sticky ethical quandary and one that I think is presented quite well in this film. Vince Vaughn and David Conrad play two guys who are asked this question--as a buddy they left in Malaysia is about to be put to death (on a drug charge for which they all bore responsibility).

    As we see these two wrestle with the implications, the doubts and the ambiguities--this film is at its strongest. How far will you go to be a "good" person, and is it worth it? Very weighty issues.

    The first half of this film is solid, solid material. The lawyer who approaches them, played by Anne Heche, also gets involved with Vaughn personally. I could have done without this romance--but as characters struggling and conflicted and despairing, I suppose there was some basis for them to be drawn together. Another outside force, however, is a newspaper reporter played by hard-as-nails Jada Pinkett Smith. For those of you who have seen the patented Pinkett Smith hard-as-nails performance--it's really not much to see. And her character is pretty pointless, as well--a plot convenience to be revealed at a later time. But even though it was far from perfect, this half was thoroughly compelling.

    Sadly, the film ventures to Malaysia for the remainder of the movie. What becomes painfully obvious now is that our romance has moved to the forefront of the picture. Joaquin Pheonix, as the prisoner, has yet to be fleshed out as a character. We don't see any real relationship between he and Vaughn or he and Heche. This is a fatal flaw!
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    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Hello! Academy Awards People! Wake up! January 26, 2000
    By MFH
    Format:VHS Tape
    I actually saw this in the theatre when it was released. This is an amazing movie. Don't pay attention to the review "Go back to Film School". Some people are a little over analytical and should just watch the news for their entertainment. Remember, a movie is just that, a movie, a story. Return to Paradise is a thought provoking and highly emotional STORY, a combination of which is exactly what I seek from films. If I leave the theatre and all I can muster is "Wow", then I know I just got my money's worth. Not only could I not speak for a while, I was in a complete daze. My boyfriend and I talked about the movie for hours afterwards, once I was able to Return to Reality. You become completely involved with these characters. That is, if your not too busy analyzing every second of each scene waiting for imperfections to arise. I have to say the most phenomonal acting was done by Joaquin Phoenix. I just cannot believe the Academy and the Hollywood Foreign Press overlooked this film altogether. Politics I am sure. We wouldn't want anyone/Malaysia to get mad at us. Better to just ignore that film. Bottom line, I thought this movie was fabulous. Some may disagree, but that's totally fine. Most of you however, I think will be moved, shocked, depressed, confused and amazed after watching this movie. Then ask yourself what would you do? REALLY. If you answer too quickly then your not being truthful. It takes some thought.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Published 2 days ago by sherry carson
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Psychologically thrilling
    Published 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Gripping movie... Makes you think about how much you value your friends or yourself...
    Published 1 month ago by Michele Lynne Marvell
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
    I loved this movie it was a great story. The acting was amazing. The story line was great. Definitely happy I have added this movie to my collection.
    Published 2 months ago by Florence Dellorfano
    3.0 out of 5 stars Watchable What Would I Do in this Situation Film, But Situation Not...
    Return to Paradise is a 90's film that poses the dilemma of would you sacrifice 3 years (or 6 if you are the only one to do the right thing) of your own life, if it would save the... Read more
    Published 2 months ago by James N Simpson
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
    This was one of the best movies I have ever seen. Love Vince Vaughn's acting and he was great in this flick. Overall, the storyline and acting scored my star rating.
    Published 4 months ago by gm
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie
    Excellent movie I can watch this over and over again, it's a must see movie don't miss out # 1
    Published 6 months ago by Dione Perkins
    5.0 out of 5 stars A very sad movie
    Great crew for such an amazing movie.... Love every aspect of this movie, Vince Vaughn is excellent as usual. Strongly recommended
    Published 8 months ago by Danyno
    5.0 out of 5 stars Movie Return to Paradise.
    This is a great dvd. I remember seeing this movie some years back. I was happy to had found it on
    Published 9 months ago by jj
    1.0 out of 5 stars return to paradise
    Didnt come with artwork and it didn't say that when I ordered it I was very disappointed in that when I order movies I expect the artwork to come with it
    Published 9 months ago by rexg
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