Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2015 8:02 pm | Updated: 8:11 pm, Thu Jul 9, 2015.
Escobar: Paradise Lost
“Escobar: Paradise Lost” centers on the story of a young Canadian surfer Nick Brady (Josh Hutcherson), who comes to Columbia with his brother to surf. But things soon go bad to worse when he forms a relationship with drug lord Pablo Escobar’s (Benicio Del Toro) niece Maria (Claudia Traisac).
Courtesy Photo from The Weinstein Company and RadiUS TWC
The story of “Escobar: Paradise Lost” centers on a young Canadian surfer Nick Brady (Josh Hutcherson), who comes to Columbia with his brother Dylan (Brady Corbet). The two brothers plan to build a shack on the beach and teach surfing lessons.
As they are constructing their shack, Brady meets a girl, Maria (Claudia Traisac) in town. They start seeing each other and become engaged. Brady later finds out that Maria's uncle is Escobar. Soon, Brady is looking for a way out of the family.
Escobar was the kingpin of the Medellin Cartel, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s website. He made his wealth from selling and the distribution of cocaine in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Del Toro shows audiences that on the outside, Escobar appears to be a man of the people by acting like a Robin Hood figure. Several scenes from the film show him handing out money to the poor and speaking at the dedication of a medical clinic.
Out of the public’s eye and when he was alone, he showed his true nature as a cold and calculating person. In one scene, Escobar is telling Brady how to kill a man like he is ordering off of a menu at a restaurant. Escobar says “Now Nick, listen. It will be easy to kill him if you don’t know anything about him. So don’t engage in conversation.”
De Toro’s performance sent chills down my spine all the way to my toes. It takes a talent to play a person who is truly evil. It is easy to play an over-the-top evil character, but making that person human and believable is much more difficult. De Toro makes that happen in “Escobar: Paradise Lost.”
Hutcherson's role as Brady in the film is not to be overlooked. His performance complements De Toro’s. In several scenes, you can see his true emotion shine through. Instead of speaking lines to tell you the character is afraid, Hutcherson shows it through acting out the emotion with his body language and facial expression.
One scene that sticks out is when he is hiding from the police in the back of an SUV. All you see is his eye as he looks through a hole in the tarp he is under. Just that one wide open eye looking around feverishly tells you more than words can.
Beyond either actor's abilities, the film itself is well-written and directed exquisitly. This is director Andrea Di Stefano’s directorial debut, and it makes a splash. If this is Stefano’s first film as a directorm I can’t wait to see what he has in store next.
While “Escobar: Paradise Lost” is a film that released to a limited number of theaters, it is well worth the drive. If you make the trip, you will be rewarded for your journey.
This film is rated R for violence including grisly images and runs 120 minutes.
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