Critics are divided about this latest film about Pablo Escobar, Paradise Lost. Andrea di Stefano, known for his roles in films Life of Pi and Sacred Heart, has now turn his hand to directing a biopic about Mexico's most infamous criminal, Pablo Escobar. Films in the past have succeeded in vividly capturing the complex psychology of the man behind the media furore – notably the documentary 30 for 30: The Two Escobars – but this new Escobar film chooses to focus instead on the repercussions of Escobar's reign on his intimate family members and those on the sidelines during the violent reign of the Colombian cocaine King.
In the new Escobar film, Paradise Lost, del Toro perfectly encapsulates the character of the notorious criminal: with charisma verging on sociopathic he inhabits an eery calm throughout that sits uncomfortably with his exterior as a family man, constantly playing with his children whilst making murderous decisions at the push of a button.
This new film, however, chooses to focus not primarily on Pablo Escobar, but instead on the burgeoning romance between his beautiful philanthropic niece Maria (Claudia Traisac) and her Canadian fiancée, who finds himself steadily more embroiled in Escobar's criminal underworld. Whilst the Colombian women on the sidelines are apparently entirely naïve as to the murderous actions of their husband and uncle, Escobar's new son-in-law, Canadian surfer Nick (Josh Hutcherson) observes everything with suspicion, but inaction, until the violence comes to a head and Escobar finds himself the most wanted man in Colombian history.
The film then becomes a cat-and-mouse-chase between a fascinating figure of recent political history and one far less so, as Escobar brutally orders the elimination of all his cronies – the men who've seen too much – and with them, his niece's fiancée. Where di Stefano's biopic falls short is in choosing to focus on his unknown Canadian victim, meaning the film ultimately becomes an oversimplified, 'love conquers all' action romp, as Nick attempts to slip through the nets of Colombia's most powerful criminal mastermind. Exhilarating viewing for action junkies and fans of del Toro but lacking in biographical texture, the Escobar: Paradise Lost film shows an accomplished foray into directing for di Stefano but fails to show the truth behind the fiction.
ESCOBAR: PARADISE LOST will be released in UK cinemas and available on demand on 21st August and Available on Blu-ray and DVD from September 21st, 2015
|What||Escobar movie: Paradise Lost, Benicio Del Toro review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
21 Aug 15 – 21 Sep 15, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Price||£ determined by venue|
|Website||Click here to go to the Escobar IMDb page|