Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

This movie ‘Beyond Borders’ had been out a good six years before I got around to watching it the other day, basically because it was sitting around the house in it’s DVD form and I had nothing else to do. So I figure what the hell, Martin Campbell is a fine director considering his stellar work that was to come on ‘Casino Royale’, I’ve liked Clive Owen’s work since ‘Croupier’ and what else can be said about the talent and beauty of Angelina Jolie? Quite honestly I wouldn’t even have bothered to scribble out a review of a six year old movie but one of the reasons I do this is because it halfway justifies the time I waste sitting on my ass watching movies and also because this movie really bugged the hell out of me. All kinds of SPOILERS are to follow.

Ms. Jolie assumes the role of pretty American born expatriated to Britain socialite Sara Bauford. This particular evening in 1984 the Bauford’s, which include Sarah’s haughty husband Henry (Linus Roche) are enjoying one of those multi thousand dollar a plate banquets for some cause or another which is headed by Henry’s high brow father Lawrence (Timothy Brow). Suddenly, radical human rights activist Dr. Nick Callahan (Owen) crashes the party with an emaciated Ethiopian child to rail on these fat cats for pulling funding for his organization due to the communist ties of the host nation. Eventually Nick gets rousted and carted off to jail, separated from this child he dragged to London who will later die of hypothermia, but Sara is touched deeply by Nick, his cause, and the dead African kid and wants to make a change.

So Sara is off to Ethiopia, despite her husbands cries that she just send a check or something, to help the relief effort. Sarah, dressed in a lovely white taffeta which I guess is supposed to help us identify her amidst all the brown people she is surrounded by, is stunned by the horrors she sees. Worst still is that Nick treats her like shit. Actually he treats everybody like shit. But the romantic tension between the two is

palpable. I guess. Anyway, Sarah does what she can, manages to saves a poor African child and heads back to London with a new lease on life. But Nick is never far from her mind, plus her marriage is on the rocks, probably due to no small fact that she’s always running off to some foreign nation leaving her husband and children behind to hang out with Nick the asshole. Well love just won’t wait and even though Nick told her that they cannot be because he will get her hurt or killed, she has to be with her man. I know they say love hurts… but damn, what happened to girlfriend over there was beyond pain.

When this movie started, considering the stark images it presented of the horrors of the starvation in Africa, I was of the mindset that this was going to be one of the toughest movies I’ll ever have to watch. Not to worry, the starving children were merely a lead-in to what had to be one of the weakest love stories in the history of the planet earth. I’m going to completely ignore the fact that ‘Beyond Borders’ was using suffering and inhumanity as a backdrop for romance, and uses it poorly, and just simply stick with the romance.

There’s a scene is this movie where Nick screws up royally and gets his best friend murderized by Burmese rebels. Completely distraught, Nick is understandably upset but Sarah comes in to comfort him assuring him ‘it wasn’t his fault’. Actually it was his fault. 100% undeniably his fault. He’s a total asshole. At this point in the flick, Nick and Sarah haven’t consummated their love yet and I had no idea there was even supposed to be love there but the next thing I know they’re having sex. Now I’m thinking to myself, at the risk of being crude… well, there is no risk because this is terribly crude, but I’m thinking what in the fuck has this clown done to deserve some pussy? Sarah has just discovered he’s running guns for the CIA, he’s gotten one friend murdered and another friend’s face all slashed up, not mention his overall general assholery… and now she’s screwing him. I guess it does pay to be tall and handsome with crystal blue eyes. It’s cool though because as she informs us her marriage has been realistically over for a while now. I wonder does her husband know this? Now there was a scene earlier were the unemployed husband was sitting in the kitchen with some random woman, both fully dressed, when Sarah came home early one day and he was acting real guilty like, but damn, they were fully dressed sitting about six feet apart. I’ve timed it, it takes a good 90 seconds to go from compromised to fully dressed. Besides, his wife doesn’t have a job so she could conceivably come home from her ‘volunteer’ work at any freaking time. Ridiculous.

So she loves this cat so much she chases him to Chechnya. She finds him, but tragically she steps on a land mine and goes ka-blooey while he’s getting shot in the back repeatedly with a high powered rifle. The next scene shows Nick reading a letter from Sarah while he drives up to her lovely British house. Other than the fact I have no idea why he’s still alive, but you see Nick is apparently the father of Sarah’s youngest child and this is where the movie ends. I think one more scene was necessary. That scene would be Nick knocking on the door of her house and introducing himself to her husband, explaining to him that he was the guy screwing his wife, that he is the guy responsible for this wife of his being dead right about now, and closing out with ‘Oh, and that six year old kid over there that calls you daddy… It’s mine and I’ve come to get it.’ I was really hoping that scene was on the DVD extras.

‘Beyond Borders’ was absolutely STUNNING in it‘s ability to offend.

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