Film Review: “Escobar: Paradise Lost” (2014)


Love usually does not kill, but it may hurt you, or put you in danger especially if for some reason, you were made to hang out with bad guys in the name of love. But what happens in Alfredo di Stefano`s first featured film is something that can be compared to the story of Romeo and Juliette, but with more realism, which Colombian viewers will certainly find disturbing, and which may bring back painful memories. Escobar: Paradise Lost is the story of one young man, who travels to Colombia with his brother to find their paradise, but instead find a dark tunnel where there is no way to find the light…

Nick (Josh Hutcherson), is a Canadian, who travels to Colombia to teach surfing. He lives on the beach with his brother, Dylan (Brady Corbet). One day Nick meets a young Colombian lady, named Maria (Claudia Traisac) and he immediately falls in love with her. She responds to him, and invites him to her Uncle`s birthday party, where she plans to introduce her fiancé to her Uncle, renowned Pablo Escobar (Benicio Del Toro), in order to receive his blessing. In the beginning, Nick lives as if in a dream. He has the girl of his dreams, who he plans to marry. and a beach, where she loves to spend his time. But when he gets involved in Escobar’s dangerous game, Nick understands that there is only one way to end the nightmare -to escape. But one thing Nick does not know-  noone ever escapes Pablo Escobar

Escobar: Paradise lost is set between 1989 and 1991. In the opening scene, we see Nick, who sits in a church in a lot of pain. And then we meet Nick again in Escobar`s hiding place, where he announces that due to his agreement with the government, he is going to surrender… But he has an assignment for each of those who attend the meeting, and this is to help Escobar hide an enormous amount of money from his enemies. Escobar prepares a special task for Nick and instructs him to meet up with an old man who will show him the place to hide the money.  Once he has completed his job, Pablo orders Nick to kill the man. After these events the film transports the audience back a few years to the moment where we find Nick in the church…

This all happens within the first fifteen minutes of the film. The story develops very fast, engaging the audience from the beginning and does not allow the spectator to become bored.  Andrea Di Stefano, who wrote and directed the film, gives a lot of freedom to his characters. While, in the meantime, Nick is left helpless by the influential and powerful enemy who is Escobar; who would without hesitation wipe out any one he so chooses.  And that makes Escobar: Paradise Lost a little bit hard to watch in light of the terrifying events that occurred during his time in Colombia. But, other than that, Di Stefano has directed quite a provocative film, where drugs and corruption in the government allow someone like Escobar to do whatever he wishes.

In conclusion, Escobar: Paradise Lost is a great film for this director’s debut; both thrilling and worth watching. It`s one of those films that can make the audience jump out of their seats.  There is no doubt that this film carries a strong message and is a reminder of how important it is to stay away from anyone, especially those, who deal with drugs, because, in the end, it will destroy your life.

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