35 Best Joaquin Phoenix Movies

In Return to Paradise, Joaquin Phoenix plays Lewis, an American man imprisoned in Malaysia on drug charges—he and his friends tossed out some hash at the end of a vacation, and he ended up arrested alone since his friends flew back to New York first. Miraculously, Lewis’s friends do not find out about this until his sister, Beth, who is pretending for some reason to not be his sister, convinces them to travel back to Malaysia in order to share responsibility for the crime and prevent Lewis from getting the death penalty. She also has an affair with Vince Vaughn, who plays one of the friends, in order to successfully manipulate him into returning to Malaysia. In the end, the judge is angered by American media coverage of the situation, and (spoiler alert) Joaquin Phoenix ends up executed anyway. Vince Vaughn lands in Malaysian jail, too. Dramatic, dark, and culturally myopic. —Lauren Kranc

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