“More Than Paradise… Will Be LOST.”
Director: Percy Angress, Livia Linden
Cast: Ryan Barton-Grimley, Danielle Bisutti, Keith Brunsmann
Synopsis: A woman becomes embroiled in a life-or-death struggle after kidnappers spirit her away to a remote area of Costa Rica.
Chances are you’ve never heard of this movie. Clearly filmed on a shoestring budget – although filmed with some skill in lush tropical locations (Costa Rica, presumably) – Tropix is an obscure little film featuring nobody you’ve ever heard of –TV actress Danielle Bisutti is probably the biggest name on the cast list – and the kind of plot that can tip over into absurdity at any moment. To be honest, Tropix is probably guilty of doing so repeatedly, but there’s an enthusiasm evident in the way it’s filmed that just about keeps audience goodwill on its side, and a lightning pace that is only occasionally blindsided by its numerous twists and turns.
Although married to sleazy criminal Guy (Thomas Scott Stanton), Corrine Findlay (Bisutti) seems unaware of his criminal activities until they take a holiday to Costa Rica. The vacation is really a front to disguise the fact that Guy is there to negotiate a shady deal worth $4.8 million. However, believing he has done the dirty on them, Guy’s three associates, the lovely but lethal Solange (Michelle Jones) and brothers Nicky (Ryan Barton-Grimley) and Joaquim (Keith Brunsmann), follow the couple and kidnap Corrine as collateral to ensure her husband goes through with the deal as planned.
Tropix is one of those movies that should be a turn off because none of the characters is particularly likeable, but you carry on watching just to see what they’re going to say, and find out what the next twist will be. And it really is a corkscrew plot in which alliances are forged and forgotten at the drop of a hat, and which gives the impression it was dreamed up over one of those weekends you need a week to recover from. Seriously, it has everything: women raping men, women falling nearly unscathed into a dense jungle from a helicopter, an airport departure lounge tango, men fighting in a swimming pool, the world’s fastest case of Stockholm Syndrome, mobile phones that work on a desert island, monkey impressions while copulating, men getting shot in the nuts and then stabbed in the eye with one of those contraptions that allow women to pee standing up – it’s even got an armed stand-off between a man and a gun-toting monkey! I mean, what more could you ask for?
On the down side, co-directors Percy Angress and Livia Linden (who also wrote the bonkers plot) seem determined to have a go at every directorial flourish they’ve ever seen at the movies, which means one minute we’re treated to a wandering shaky-cam and the next everything’s speeded up like one of those ‘wacky’ sequences from a Monkees TV show. The salsa soundtrack grows old pretty quick – and is frequently inappropriate – as does Jones’s annoyingly upbeat narration, but the film does at least confound the nagging suspicion that it won’t be able to resist throwing one big concluding twist at us that will wreck the whole quirky mess. Overall, I liked it – just not enough to give it any stars…
(Reviewed 14th April 2015)