Escobar: Paradise Lost
Escobar: Paradise Lost (also known as Paradise Lost) is a 2014 romantic thriller film written and directed by Andrea Di Stefano in his directorial debut. The film chronicles the life of a surfer who falls in love while working with his brother in Colombia and finds out that the girl's uncle is Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
|Escobar: Paradise Lost|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Andrea Di Stefano|
|Produced by||Frederique Dumas|
|Written by||Andrea Di Stefano|
|Music by||Max Richter|
|Cinematography||Luis David Sansans|
|Edited by||David Brenner|
|Box office||$3.8 million|
RADiUS-TWC acquired the North American distribution rights of the film in February 2014. The film premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2014. and had a limited release in the United States on June 26, 2015.
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Nick Brady and his girlfriend Maria, Pablo Escobar's niece, are making hurried plans to leave Colombia with Nick's brother, Dylan, when Escobar summons Nick to a meeting. He tells the gathered men, many of whom are his family, that he intends to surrender himself to the authorities and that they will have to take action in his absence to protect his fortune. Most of the men agree immediately. Nick is visibly hesitant but agrees when Pablo asks him directly for his help.
After the meeting, Pablo puts each of them in charge of a truck. He tells Nick that he must drive to Ituango where a local will meet him. He will guide him to a cave where they will stash the contents of the truck, then they will collapse the cave and Nick must kill the guard. Pablo gives Nick a gun and shows him how to use it. Nick tells Pablo he has never done anything like this before and is obviously nervous. Pablo tells Nick that he is like a son to him and they must all make sacrifices.
The film flashes back to a few years earlier, when Nick, Dylan and Dylan's partner Anne arrive in Colombia from Canada. They intend to set up a camp by a beach where Nick will teach surfing and Dylan will sell food. After they struggle to secure transport for their construction materials, Nick asks Maria, who is standing nearby erecting election posters, if he can borrow her truck. They become friendly and start dating. Maria tells Nick that her uncle is Pablo Escobar, the man on the posters.
Maria persuades Nick to come to Pablo's next election rally in town. Although Nick attends, he is too intimidated to go over and meet Pablo, despite Maria's encouragement. Local gangsters, the Roldano brothers, threaten Nick and Dylan and demolish their early construction, telling them that they run the town and that the newcomers must pay for the privilege of being there. Later, the Roldanos ambush Nick and set a dog on him, injuring his arm.
Maria takes Nick to Pablo's birthday party where she introduces him to her family, including Pablo. Nick is taken aback by Pablo's wealth and asks Maria where he got it from. Maria tells him his fortune comes from cocaine, but that this is perfectly normal in Colombia and Pablo uses his wealth to help the people. In the middle of the night, Pablo visits Nick and tells him Maria is very taken with him. He asks Nick if he is serious about Maria; Nick says he is. Noticing Nick's injured arm, Pablo asks what happens and Nick says he was attacked by a dog belonging to some local mobsters. Pablo makes a note and leaves, wishing Nick good night.
Soon afterwards, the Roldano brothers are brutally killed. Dylan suspects Pablo was responsible but Nick refuses to believe Pablo could do such a thing. Nick and Maria get engaged and Nick moves into Pablo's hacienda, doing odd jobs around the compound. One day, while visiting the stables, Nick sees a group of men washing what looks to be blood off themselves. One of the men sees him and introduces himself as Drago. Nick is visibly shaken and Drago reports this to Pablo. Pablo shows Nick his car, which used to belong to Bonnie and Clyde, and tells him about his fear of betrayal. He tells Nick to come to him if he sees anything strange. He also tells Nick that he had the Roldanos killed but that this was because of Nick, and this makes Nick as responsible for their deaths as Pablo himself.
The news reports that Pablo is a wanted drug dealer and Pablo sends many of his household away. Nick and Maria go back to live with Dylan and Anne on the beach, but Dylan tells Nick he is not welcome after finding a gun in his luggage. During their argument, they hear that the Minister of Justice has been killed and Pablo is believed responsible. Dylan and Anne begin plans to move back to Canada and Nick and Maria consider going with them. Nick mentions this to Pablo, who tries to discourage him. Nick and Maria decide to leave anyway and begin packing, planning to leave secretly, at which point they are interrupted and the narrative catches up with the start of the film.
Nick arrives in Ituango but is suspicious, believing he is being followed. The local who was supposed to meet him has broken his leg and sent his 15-year-old son, Martin, instead. Nick asks Pablo for clarification on whether he still has to kill Martin and Pablo simply tells him to call when it's done. They drive off to the cave. On the way, Martin tells Nick that he is married and has a baby son, and shows him a photo. After they leave the cave, Nick tells Martin to flee and tries to give him some of Pablo's diamonds to help him on his way. Martin is too excited about the diamonds and doesn't listen to Nick's warnings but is eventually persuaded after Nick threatens him with a gun.
They return to Ituango where Martin will collect his family. As they are parking, Nick spots Drago's truck He calls Maria from a nearby hotel, who tells him that all the other men Pablo sent out have been killed and she feared Nick was dead too. Nick then calls Pablo, and on that call Bambi, one of Pablo's henchmen, reveals that he knows Nick is not calling from the pre-arranged restaurant. Nick takes this as proof that Drago was sent to kill him. When he asks Pablo why, Pablo, who is reading the Jungle Book to his daughter, tells Nick that, like Mowgli, he is "leaving the jungle", and Nick is one of the jungle friends he must leave behind.
Meanwhile, Martin has gone back to his home to find Drago there and his family dead. Drago tells him that he will spare Martin if he tells him where to find Nick, but Martin refuses and attacks him instead. Drago kills him, and recruits the local police to help him find Nick: they put out a report that Nick has killed Martin and his family and is armed and dangerous. Meanwhile, Pablo sends his own family away and prepares to leave for his arrest. He has Bambi shot just before he drives away.
Nick surprises a local policeman and escapes Ituango. He manages to place a call to Anne and repeatedly asks for Dylan but Anne, increasingly distressed, tells him Dylan can't come to the phone. Nick realises that Anne is being held at gunpoint by Pablo's men and panics about what has happened to Dylan. Anne implies they have killed him. The call is cut off with gunshots, suggesting that Anne and her baby have been killed too. A furious Nick ambushes Drago and his driver, and kills them both, but Drago manages to shoot him in the exchange of gunfire.
Pablo travels to meet the police in a football stadium, where he is greeted like a hero by thousands of Colombians. He believes he sees Maria in the crowd, looking at him with horror. After his arrest but before he is taken off to prison, Pablo calls Drago to ask what happened to Nick, but Nick answers, confirming he is still alive.
Maria meets Nick in a church and discovers that he is mortally wounded. She runs outside to try to get help, but is unable to find assistance. Nick slumps to one side in the church, having a vision of himself and Dylan walking to a beach together.
Of the storyline, Di Stefano claimed "the idea came from three sentences [I] heard from a police officer about a real-life young Italian fellow who went to Colombia to meet his brother, somehow became close to the Escobar family, and then got in trouble."
Hutcherson served as an executive producer for the film, alongside Andrea Di Stefano, assisting with casting and blocking shots.
On December 17, 2012, it was rumoured that Josh Hutcherson was in talks to be cast in the leading role. An announcement was made the following day that he had been cast as Nick Brady, the lead role. On March 25, 2013, Brady Corbet was cast as the lead character's brother, Dylan Brady.
Principal photography was expected to begin in Panama in March 2013. Filming was initially expected to last a month and a half, finishing on May 30, 2013. However, it was rumored filming was also conducted during June and July 2013.
Escobar: Paradise Lost made its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2014. It also screened at the 2014 Telluride Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Rome Film Festival, and Zurich Film Festival.
Escobar: Paradise Lost was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on March 19, 2015 in France and April 15, 2015 in Australia and New Zealand. Further DVD and Blu-Ray releases include in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands on September 21, 2015.
During its opening in France, the film debuted with a weekend total of $601,554. Its opening weekend in Spain brought in $620,845 and $79,637 in the United Arab Emirates. As of September 7, 2015, the film had grossed $3,562,536 in the six foreign markets the film has been released in.
Domestically, the film earned $195,792 during its first two weeks from its limited theatrical release in June and July 2015.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 52% approval rating, based on reviews from 41 critics, with an average score of 5.8/10. Metacritic gives the film a score of 56 out of 100, based on reviews from 19 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
At the Telluride Film Festival, Escobar: Paradise Lost received a generally positive critical response. Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy called the film "an absorbing and suspenseful drug trade drama" along with citing that "del Toro’s presence, like Brando’s in The Godfather, looms over everything that happens here". McCarthy also stated that "Di Stefano shows some real directorial chops in the film’s central and impressively extended action-suspense sequence". However, "the romantic interplay between Nick and Maria gets a bit tiresome and redundant due to the fact that they’re both so extremely nice and agreeable; Nick’s naivete and goody two-shoes Canadianism (he stresses that he’s not a Yank) also prove wearisome".
Writing for Indiewire, Eric Kohn gave the film a B and praised the performances of del Toro and Hutcherson writing that del Toro "turns Escobar into a subdued terror whose ability to order murders with ease provides the movie with its chief source of dread", while Hutcherson "imbues the character with a believability that transcends the script's limitations". However, Kohn also criticised the film as it "fails to develop the rest of its characters as well as it does for its two central men. The screenplay is similarly marred by formula, lagging whenever it hits certain high melodramatic notes, and reminding us of the stakes in play with mopey, dime-store gravitas".
|2015||Platino Ibero-American Film Awards||Best Actor||Benicio Del Toro||Nominated|
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