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Escobar: Paradise Lost (2014)
Admittedly, I could watch Benicio del Toro in villainous movie roles all day without complaint. I watched this movie because Benicio del Toro plays a villain in it, and his wonderfully simmering supporting performance here as this equal parts magnetic and deadly billionaire drug lord is absolute must-see perfection on film. Conversely, Escobar: Paradise Lost offers nothing compelling enough beyond a couple of marginal big scenes for its actual star to work with. Escobar: Paradise Lost should have been called Escobar: Hutcherson Lost. Hutcherson's character Nick Brady never seems to matter much in this movie that's about him, even when Escobar's later need to tie up loose ends launches a trigger-happy manhunt for him.
The film starts near the end of the story, with Pablo Escobar on the eve of surrendering to imprisonment handing his scared and disoriented in-law Nick Brady a map and telling him to drive a carload of heavy crates that are destined to be hidden from government seizure. It's during that long drive through the night that Brady's memories take a paying audience back to when he was still a surfer dude hot for Escobar's niece a decade earlier. Andrea Di Stefano's screenplay then evades character development and empathy while dragging Hutcherson through a series of fairly uneventful scenes that eventually lead back to - wait for it - Pablo Escobar on the eve of surrendering to imprisonment handing Nick Brady a map. Yawn, I just saw this bit an hour ago and still don't care. More del Toro, less el snoro, please.
I can't imagine anyone other than Benicio del Toro ever portraying Pablo Escobar with as much outstanding on-screen craftsmanship as seen in this film. It's just an outrageous shame his stellar performance is only a supporting role in this otherwise boring and laughably forgettable snooze fest. Hutcherson does try to fill the actual starring role, but he's barely given anything worthwhile to work with. Even del Toro fans will probably want to wait to see Escobar: Paradise Lost as a cheap rental. Reviewed 02/15, © Stephen Bourne, moviequips.ca.
Escobar: Paradise Lost is rated
14A by the Ontario Film Review Board, citing use of expletives,
illustrated or verbal references to drugs, alcohol or tobacco,
occasional upsetting or disturbing scenes, embracing and kissing,
and restrained portrayals of non-graphic violence, and is rated
13+ by la Régie du Cinéma in Québec.
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