Paradise Review on Netflix


Growing old sucks, right? Every year of our lives we can feel our bodies and minds constantly deteriorate. We grow increasingly tired and exhausted, it’s easier for us to gain weight, and going to the toilet becomes a surprisingly frequent and sometimes difficult endeavor. Thankfully, however, aging happens incredibly slowly, and it takes decades to really feel it. We still have our lives, families, and careers to build, making countless memories and experiencing the joys and sometimes hardships of life, which is what living is all about.

Now imagine that you wake up one day, look into the mirror, and find that you have aged into your 70s. Sure, if you were in your 60s, it’s not too big of a deal. But imagine this happens while you are in your 20s or 30s. Losing 40 to 50 years of your life, which some may say are the best years of our lives. Your ability to build a family, a home, or a career has been ripped right from your hands.

Now picture that those 40 to 50 years that have been taken from you, have been given to some rich individual well into their 70s, allowing them to reduce their age by 50 years, turning them back into a 20-year-old once more. This would essentially make them immortal if they repeat the process over and over again.

This is an absolutely terrifying concept we would never want to become reality, which Netflix’s latest original film, Paradise, deeply explores. Although the movie in general is nothing spectacular, audiences would still likely appreciate the core premise, even if they may forget about Paradise as a whole within a few weeks.

The Future Isn’t Exactly Paradise

Written by Simon Amberger, Peter Koclya, and Boris Kunz, Paradise follows Max (Kostja Ullman) and Elena (Marlene Tanzcik) who live an almost perfect life, at least until their apartment unexpectedly catches fire. Of course the two go to their insurance company for help, but due to the bank claiming that it was negligence on Max and Elena’s part, the bank won’t pay a dime. Due to this, the bank issue that Elena must “pay” 40 years of her life. With their future robbed, Max and Elena risk everything to get Elena’s 40 years back.

The core concept of Paradise tackles the increasingly terrifying topic of ageism, and toys with the idea of trading your life for money. A billion-dollar pharmaceutical company named AEON developed a method of transferring years of your life from one person to another. For example, an individual in their 80s may want to live longer, and for an incredibly large amount of money, could ask an 18-year-old with a similar genetic pattern to have 50 to 60 years taken from their life, allowing the 80-year-old to de-age back into their 30s and the 18-year-old to dramatically age into their 70s within a few days.

This concept is horrifying for a multitude of obvious reasons. As recently seen in the film Old, the idea of aging rapidly in a matter of hours is so deeply haunting that we wouldn’t wish it upon our worst enemy. Why do people, scientists, and companies continue to play “God”? Did we learn nothing from Jurassic Park?

Similarly, like many movies before it that delve into the near future, Paradise not only tackles agism, but also classism. The rich can essentially live forever if they continue with the process, but it’s the working class that once again must pay the price, sacrificing decades of their life for a large sum of money.

The Moral Dilemma

Paradise - Moral Dilemas

Would you trade years of your life, for a mass sum of money? While some would immediately respond with a “hell no,” it’s a question which you will continue to think about as the movie goes on. More specifically, would you trade 30 years of your life right now for $2.4 million? It’s a tad more difficult to choose at that point, right? Most of us will never come across that amount of money in our lives, at least all at once.

Paradise of course delves into the horrific effects of this medical procedure, as well as occasionally showcasing the positives that it has on the world. It’s a film that raises great moral dilemmas, even if it ultimately feels like a wasted opportunity.

Related: The Best Movies About Getting Older For a New Year

The Strain Aging Has on Relationships

Paradise movie on Netflix

Max and Elena’s relationship is one of the movie’s more compelling aspects. We first meet the pair in the prime of their relationships. Ready to build a home, both are at the cusp of their careers, and itching to start a family. The two are an adorable and infectious couple who have their whole future ahead of them.

However, as the movie’s plot suggests, their relationship is bookended when Elena gains 40 years of her life. Max is obviously and evidently distraught, yet he of course still loves and is attracted to Elena as much as he did before her change. It is, in fact, Elena that causes a strain on the relationship, claiming that Max pities her, doesn’t love her, and doesn’t find her attractive anymore, a complete misunderstanding.

Seeing their journey progress and relationship become stronger as the film progresses will keep audiences invested. The two are forced to investigate their relationship and even become closer than before after this ethical dilemma, which teaches us the true meaning of love. We still wouldn’t call Paradise a timeless romance movie by any means, however the couple’s relationship is what’s at the center of the film. The performances by both Kostja Ullman and Marlene Tanzcik are fantastic, and the chemistry the two have is endearing and makes their romantic relationship incredibly believable.

Related: 25 Tragic Movie Romances That Left Us in Pieces

The Potential To Be One of the Best Sci-Fi/Thrillers of the Decade

Paradise - Concept

Paradise has all the substance to be one of the best sci-fi thrillers of recent years — a terrifying concept, a compelling futuristic world, unexpected twists, and great moral dilemmas. All recipes for an unforgettable sci-fi movie.

However, the film never truly reaches these heights. It’s not a bad movie per se, thanks to a wonderful premise and great performances. And yet, the movie’s ending, pacing, writing, and music feel disappointingly generic, especially considering its intriguing premise and the endearing romantic relationship. At the end of the day, Paradise sadly feels like a run-of-the-mill sci-fi flick, that you wouldn’t be blamed for, for skipping.

Paradise will be available to watch on Netflix beginning July 27.

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