Logical Questions Pertaining to the Movie “Return to Paradise” Plus My Personal Thoughts
My response to the movie
Especially living in America where we are more free than most other places in the world, and where even recently laws are being passed to allow the possession of marijuana, it is hard to understand the laws of different areas of the world, especially regarding something that is becoming more free. Sometimes laws and actions taken by people and authority in other parts of the world are unfathomable by those who live under different rules of authority.
Personally, I can understand the Malaysian law and I respect it and I also respect the punishment for the law against marijuana even though I find it terribly saddening. Although it is always the responsibility of the person to inform themselves of certain laws especially when visiting a new area, I almost wish there were some way to let tourist and visitors of certain areas know the laws and penalties especially if they are death sentence. I say I almost wish because no matter what, there would still always be people who wouldn’t listen or read carefully enough and still be in the same circumstance. Another idea would be to at least make this information more convenient, like even just giving out pamphlets to passengers of aircraft or having a highly visible recommended link to where people could find that information.
This movie, although it can scare tourists into not wanting to travel to many parts of the word, especially Malaysia, I do not believe it is meant to, I believe it is meant to enlighten people about the laws and severity of different parts of the world.
As for the plot, I think the suspense of whether Sheriff and or Tony are going to stay, and the suspense of whether Sheriff is going to make it to the court house in time is well played. Also, the decision of the Judge to continue with the hanging of Lewis is very dramatic. It almost doesn’t make sense why though Sheriff wasn’t hung as well.
I know all movies can’t end happily, and I also understand and respect the laws of different countries, but I feel that something needed to be done about that reporter who will go on writing about her disrespect for the Malaysian laws especially if she hears that Lewis was still hanged even though one of his friends Sheriff choose to come back and face imprisonment. I feel that Heche should have sued that writer at the very least having her suffer the consequences of her actions, letting her and the rest of the world know why Lewis had to be hanged.
Why I feel this way about the journalist is not just because she unknowingly caused the death of a man, but also because I respect the judges verdict, however the judge did so to prove a point to America and I do not think that point will be made, instead America will most likely agree with the journalists article. Instead, if the journalist is penalized and America knows that Lewis was hung not only because of Malaysian law, but also because of the disrespect Americans have for the Malaysian law, then Lewis’ death will be justified.
I understand people have their opinions and are free to speak about them, but I think one thing that this movie taught me is that no matter what your opinions are you should always have respect for other countries’ laws. I believe I thought the death sentence for marijuana possession was very severe, but after watching the movie and letting it set in for a while, I am able to see that I now have a higher respect for other countries’ laws, and I really hope other people can learn that from watching this movie too.
As for the romance between Sheriff and Heche, I thought it was a little instantaneous even just in the one scene and needed to be less dramatic. It was nice to see that Heche didn’t just play Sheriff to get him to come save her brother from getting hung but she really cared for him, and in the end although it is a really sad twisted way for two people to be brought together, but at least they have each other to lean on while they live with the sadness of losing a brother and a friend.
I know it would have made for a even sadder ending resulting possibly even in Heche committing suicide, but thinking about the law, since they decided to go through with the hanging of Lewis, why did they not kill Sheriff as well? If they had just caught them (it were not 1 year later) wouldn’t they both have been hung? Of coarse Tony would be off the hook unless of coarse he returned to Malaysia for any reason and was caught, but since Sheriff was not only in Malaysia but also confessed to committing the crime and surrenders himself to the consequences, so why not hang him too?
Now questions for you to answer and think about
What do you think of the penalty for the possession of marijuana in Malaysia? Do you think it is outrageous, or do you understand their logic?
If you do not agree with the penalty, then what alternative do you think should be put in place?
Do you think that it would be worse to have to live a life sentence in the Malaysian prison rather than the death penalty?
Do you possibly think they should have an alternative way to kill sentenced people in general? If so which way?
Do you think that for non-citizens instead of the death sentence they should have to live a life sentence there, or do you think it would be better to have to be hung?
Do you think it would be reasonable to have just an alternative means to death for non-citizens seeing how they might be less aware of the laws?
Do/Can you have respect for other countries laws? Did this movie change that?
If there were either an audio or a written form of the laws and penalties in Malaysia that even possibly everybody entering Malaysia would have to give written consent of reading/listening to, and for whatever reason Lewis, Sheriff, and Tony did not pay full attention to them, would that make the end outcome any less sad?
Do you think it was right for Lewis to be hung?
Do you think that Sheriff should have hung as well?
Do you think anything should be done about the journalist who wrote the article that got Lewis hung? If so, what? Does she deserve death, or simply a lawsuit, or simply having to live with the burden of writing something that caused someone to get hung?
Do you think the journalist would have any personal remorse for her article or simply pass all the blame on the Malaysian government?