Danny Boyle’s 2000 film ‘The Beach’ makes for interesting viewing from a Nationalist perspective because whether he intended his movie to be so or not, it’s the story of the failure of liberal minded Europeans to face reality while attempting to create utopia. It’s a brilliant meditation on liberal denial.
The Beach also serves as something of a nostalgia fest for those of us born at the tail end of ‘Generation X’ and that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, the main star of The Beach. Set just before 9,11 and before beheading Europeans wherever they could be found outside of the West became a trend, The Beach harks back to a time when middle class ‘Gen Xers’ could trot around the world in search of the ‘authentic’, away from the consumerist tedium of high capitalism which had reduced their own cultures to shopping malls and warehouse space.
Enlightenment and spiritual fulfilment, they believed, was to be found within the jungles of India, the beaches of Thailand or the ruined Archaeology of central American native tribes rather than the pay as you go Cathedrals of Europe or the beer belly and tattoo’d idiocy of the Spanish resort.
DiCaprio’s ‘Richard’ fits perfectly into the stereotype of the early 20’s white middle class male in search of something more, something ”off the beaten track” and after some rather tedious plot points and story arcs he finds it, an island, a whole community of white middle class liberal types just like himself.
This, then, is the central pitch of Boyle’s film, based on a novel by Alex Garland, The Beach is actually a lagoon on a remote island off Thailand where a small, secretive community of European backpackers, and a token black male, have set out to create their very own paradise on earth. Upon arrival with a young French couple he picked up along the way, Richard informs us via a voice over that the island did not have ”an ideology or shit like that”, the community on the island has no work ethic, no real moral code, no religion, no laws and no real compulsion to do anything except smoke dope, have sex and sunbathe.
However, the island actually does have an ideology, it is unbridled hedonism. The island is viewed upon as a paradise by these middle class whites because there’s literally nothing to do except ‘have fun’ to lounge around in their garden of Eden untroubled by work, taxes, family or the monotonous daily grind of keeping the hyper capitalist engine of the West ticking over.
The community was founded by the slightly older, slightly more upper class ‘Sal’ played by ice queen Tilda Swinton, yes, the island community is a matriarchy too. Sal seems to spend all of her time in hippy garb lounging on a raised sofa, eyeing the island community as a spider watches out from its web, any signs that somebody is not suitably euphoric, stoned, cheerful or sexually satisfied and she’s alerted to the tremble. And it’s here we begin to see where the flaws of this way of life appear, if you’ve set about creating a perfect society, where happiness is guaranteed and is the primary purpose of the community existing, then the threats to this society come from people not being in a permanent state of bliss.
The Beach gives us a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the liberal European and their utter incapability of even trying to process that the way they’re doing things might be monumentally wrong.
The first glimpse we get that things may not be ‘perfect’ is when a young man explains that sometimes it’s hard to catch fish, and all they have to eat is bags of rice, they have sun and sex and beach sports, but they’re going hungry. Another hint comes when Richard takes a rare trip to the mainland for supplies and is overwhelmed by the girls asking for tampons to be brought back.
Sal is obsessed with keeping the island a secret lest the Pepsi swigging slobs of the white tourist masses come along to trample and fart all over her dream. This means no help can ever come from outside…ever.
Conditions on the island gradually deteriorate but nobody can ever admit to it, the party cannot stop, so when three Swedish brothers are savaged by a shark while fishing they have a problem. Nature, reality, has a way of wriggling into any wonderland man (or woman), can create, sometimes it’s a Muslim terrorist, sometimes it’s a shark.
One of the Swedish brothers recovers, one dies immediately, it’s the third brother who poses the problem, as DiCaprio’s Richard explains ”You have to get better or die, it’s the bit in-between which pisses people off” and indeed, having a man writhe around howling in agony proves to be a major downer, a real drag man!.
As is so often the case in the West today, when the liberal mind is faced with an inconvenient truth their reaction is to bury it, and so just like the white girls of Rotherham, or the entire nation of Sweden today, the pain stricken Swedish lad is promptly dumped in the jungle so they no longer have to hear his torment and pain. Whereupon the community instantly go back to playing volley ball and smoking dope.
By this stage of the film DiCaprio’s Richard is the lonely sane man trying to point out the lunacy of the situation, Sal is borderline psychotic and the rest, having gone full European Eloi, merely wandering about in abject denial. Just like sane white men in the West today Richard is ostracised and cast into the jungle for speaking bubble bursting truths about the feminized madhouse we inhabit.
Both in The Beach and in our own society, speaking truth has become far more than simply ‘inconvenient’ it has become an existential threat to the system. The time for speaking truth on The Beach was when they were going hungry and the guy had to have his tooth pulled out with pliers.
The Beach reaches its climax when Richard returns to the village to confront Sal and demands she shoots him to shut him up, will she go that far? is it worth it? Sal, who’d make a great Guardian columnist, concludes yes, she should shoot him and pulls the trigger, but there’s no bullets in the gun. This, then, is the end of the community, everybody watched as Sal tried to shoot a guy in the face for the sake of creating heaven on earth, finally disillusioned the middle class whites trudge off home.
As I finish writing this article, another Muslim terrorist has been caught trying to carry out an attack on Westminster. We’re really, really not having fun anymore…can we go home yet?