|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||Paradise Hills|
|Production country:||USA/Spanien 2019|
|Running time:||Ca. 95 min.|
|Rated:||From 12 years|
The rebellious Uma (Emma Roberts) wakes up one day in a deceptive paradise. Against her will, she was shipped by her parents to Paradise Hills, an isolated island where girls from wealthy families are sent to become the best version of themselves. The Duchess (Milla Jovovich) rules here with an iron hand behind a friendly, naive façade. An individually tailored treatment should lead the girls on the right path. But Uma doesn't want to be manipulated. With her new friends Chloe (Danielle McDonald), Yu (Awkwafina) and the pop star Amarna (Eiza Gonzalez) she wants to flee the island. But when she discovers the dark secret hidden behind the dreamlike backdrop of Paradise Hills, it could be too late to escape…
One has to leave Alice Waddington's directing debut "Paradise Hills" alone: The movie looks great. The director can create an oppressively beautiful atmosphere, from which the production can profit extremely until the finale. One can almost lose oneself in the voluptuous pictures and feels almost as numb as the girls, who are here subjected to a very special form of brainwashing. In this respect, this film is really something special. The ensemble of very different actresses can also be considered an absolute plus point. You quickly feel inclined to give the mystery drama a thumbs up. But unfortunately the confused story puts a spoke in the wheel.
You get the feeling that Waddington wanted to stage an overlong "Black Mirror" episode here, without ever reaching the dramaturgical class of this series. Not only is the mystery around the island not as surprising and shocking as the creators might have intended. No question: The idea behind this secret is not bad at all - and also a little bit frightening. Because if you think about it a bit more intensively, you come to the conclusion that there would actually be some people who would use the service of an institution like Paradise Hills, if it really existed.
On the other hand, the longer consideration also reveals that the idea is not so new at all. There was already a film in 2005 that made use of a very similar "surprising twist" (which one is not to be revealed, since connoisseurs of this film would immediately know what "Paradise Hills" is all about). It is undeniable that "Paradise Hills" has a special charm and looks really great. But there is not as much behind it as it seems at first glance. And therefore the "worth seeing" can only exist with restrictions.
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp