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Home > Paradise (2023): A Review

Paradise (2023): A Review

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A dystopian film that will leave its audience guessing till the end

Paradise takes a fresh approach regarding a not-so-far-away dystopian future. This Netflix original film is a true standalone in the sci-fi genre. From excellent performances, cinematography, and a well-thought-out plot, the film is one of the best-shot dystopian films of the last several years.

A Daring Dystopia

Paradise is a German film that follows a young couple Max (Kostja Ullmann) and Elena (Marlene Tanczik), who are trying to start a family. Max works for Aeon, a company that allows citizens to donate years of their lives in return for financial payouts. After Max and Elena’s apartment is destroyed in a fire, the couple is forced to pay off their mountain of debt by having Elena donate forty years of her life as collateral. Anytime a person donates years of their life, they begin to age. This also means that anyone who buys Elena’s forty years will age in reverse.

In an attempt to save his marriage and his wife’s life, Max does the unthinkable after making a shocking discovery. He begins to realize that his actions have consequences and won’t only affect him but the ones he loves. 

Exceptional Performances

The casting was well done across the board, with stand-out performances given by each cast member. However, the best performances came from Paradise’s two leads, Kostja Ullmann and Marlene Tanczik, who played Max and Elena. The relationship between the couple, along with their struggles, carries the film forward. 

Elena and Max’s relationship explores several existential questions that many audiences often ask themselves. One of the main questions is in regards to society perpetuating ageism, especially towards women. The question is, will your partner still love you even as you age? Max insists he still loves Elena no matter how she looks. Still, Elena finds herself struggling with aging nearly forty years almost overnight. The couple’s sudden age gap causes a major point of contention in their marriage; infertility. Seeing Max and Elena navigate this unforeseen side effect and the stress of Max’s job allows for a realistic depiction of a marriage, even though the movie is part of the sci-fi genre. This gives Paradise a sense of realism even though it’s based in the future.

The relationship between Sophie Theissen (Iris Berben) and Marie Theissen (Lisa-Marie Koroll) demonstrates a tumultuous mother-daughter relationship. Given that Marie’s mother, Sophie, is the CEO of Aeon, it puts a layer of political pressure on the pair and forces both of them to make grueling decisions regarding one another. In a society where citizens can manipulate their age, other questions begin to arise. Of course, there are benefits to youth but at what cost? And how far is someone willing to go to protect the ones they love?

Shot with Intention 

Despite the film being set in a dystopian world, Paradise doesn’t feel overdone like many other films in the genre. Anytime a movie is based in the future it always seems that certain aspects of the film are hyper-focused at the cost of character development. Instead, Paradise focuses less on the evil government trope and more on the relationships between each character and their complexities. None of the characters in the movie were one-dimensional. All of their strengths and weaknesses were explored throughout the movie. Even though there was an element of good versus evil throughout Paradise, the film thoroughly explored a wide range of dynamics among the characters. This was done with the supporting roles along with the two lead roles.

There are no faults with this futuristic thriller. With every element being beautifully shot and well thought out, audiences can be fully immersed in the film. The movie was also well-shot, weaving in intimate moments between Max and Elena, family conflicts, and even several action scenes. Each scene felt purposeful and created a great deal of suspense. As an audience member, there was no telling how the film would end. 

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Final Rating

Even though the film is dystopian, it manages to feel grounded in reality. The plot could take place in the not-so-distant future. The movie also forces its audience members to think critically and ask themselves some hard questions. The most prevalent question is how far someone would go to protect the ones they love. The movie also captures the immense pressure we put on people, especially women, to remain as youthful as possible. 

Paradise manages to expertly incorporate diverse characters along with well-shot scenes and a phenomenal plot. It’s the type of film that can pull at an audience’s heartstrings and leave them guessing till the end. It was by no means predictable or just another dystopian film. Paradise manages to stand independently from other genres by having several fantastic elements culminating in a film that leaves audiences on the edge of their seats.

Paradise is currently streaming on Netflix. 

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Paradise (2023) Netflix Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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