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Romantic adventure, marital crisis, and the tragedy of global hunger are combined with mixed but respectable results inBeyond Borders, starring Angelina Jolie in a role that reflects her off-screen efforts as a United Nations goodwill ambassador. Jolie plays a naive American socialite, unhappily married and living in London, whose life is revolutionized when a passionate doctor (Clive Owen, replacing original costar Kevin Costner) draws her into the cause of humanitarian aid in the world's most dangerous political hot-spots including Ethiopia, Cambodia (where Jolie adopted her first child), and Chechnya in the 1980s and '90s. Directed by Martin (Goldeneye) Campbell, who replaced Oliver Stone during troubled pre-production, this well-meaning film suffers from schizophrenic priorities: Is it a globetrotting love story? An impassioned political exposé? Powerful scenes and fine performances can't entirely offset the film's identity crisis, and the ending strives for a quality of martyrdom that it doesn't really earn.--Jeff Shannon
Did angelina die at the end of the movie? I loved the movie, but what really made me mad was that I am confused if she died at the end or if she survived. I hate movies like this, but it had a really good plot to it. The romance was cute and clive is sexy. All I want to know is if angelina died in the end.
mixed reviews beyond boreders is an okay movie. since angelina was in it i thought it would be great and riveting but.......... its confusing whether it was a romantic movie or a movie focus on refugee relief work. i would think its both. its a movie that might make you cry and not like the ending for what it does to angelina's charater, but i find it to a well done movie.It is hard to have a romance against a backdrop of human misery When there have been dozens of movies made about the Holocaust you can get to the point where you can tell the story of a romance set against such horrors as Robert Benigni did in "La Vita è bella. But when you are first showing a world of horror like that in the movies you cannot try and tell a romance against such a backdrop. More to the point, you should not try, and that is the fatal flaw with "Beyond Borders," which will constitute many viewers introductions to the major disasters and wars around the world that international disaster relief works have tried to deal with in the last two decades.
Granted, it is the stars of the film and not the subject matter that will get people to watch the movie. Originally "Beyond Borders" was going to be directed by Oliver Stone and star Kevin Costner and Catherine Zeta-Jones. What they ended up with is director Martin Campbell ("Vertical Limit"), Clive Owen ("Gosford Park") and Angelina Jolie ("Tomb Raider"). When this film was made that would be considered pretty much a drop down across the board (Owen had yet to make "Arthur"), but the fault is not to be found in either the director or the actors. Certainly Jolie is at home here, because even those wearing their Team Aniston t-shirts have to admit that as a good will ambassador for the UNHCR the actress has walked the walk. She was the first recipient of the Citizen of the World Award from the UN's Correspondents' Association for her work, made an honorary citizen of Cambodia for her humanitarian work there, and the tabloids covered her adoption of a newborn baby girl from Ethiopia who was left orphaned by AIDS. No, the problem is with the decision in the script by first time scripter Caspian Tredwell-Owen to go with a romance between the two.
The story is told in three major acts, each representing a major disaster in a different time and place. The first is the Ethiopia famine in 1984, the second is set in the Cambodia of the Khmer Rouge in 1989, and the final is the Chechnya of 1995. These major sequences, shot on location, are sandwiched between scenes in London of the family life that Sarah Jordan (Jolie) leaves behind when she goes off to help Nick Callahan (Owen) to try and save the sick and dying. The film starts off with what we take to be the "present," as Sarah plays Schumann's "Traumerei" on the piano. Clearly this is going to be a sad tale. When then go back to a fund raising party in London in 1984 that Sarah was attending with her husband, Henry Bauford (Linus Roache), and journalist sister, Charlotte Jordan (Teri Polo). The evening's festitivites are interrupted when Callahan storms in with a young Ethiopian boy demanding to know why his funding has been cut off.
I thought the first third of "Beyond Borders" was pretty memorable. Callahan dresses down the crowd in a profane but pointed manner, and when there is a pathetic rejoinder to his barbs he turns it around to really shame them. Sarah is profoundly affected by what happens, both there and afterwards, and decides to drop everything in her life and use all of the money she can get her hands on to fund a relief convoy to Callahan's camp in Ethiopia. There she is given a rude introduction to the horrors of the famine and her efforts are rudely dismissed by Callahan. But Sarah has spunk, or at least a heart in the right place, and she is able to help, which, after all, is what you would think this would all be about in the end. But I should have known when in middle of a relief camp in the middle of the Ethiopian desert Sarah finds a piano to play, that this 2003 film was going to go in the wrong direction.
Here is where I think the movie makes a mistake, because when the supplies run out, Sarah goes home. She and Callahan have established the beginning of a relationship, not just because they have been butting heads but because of a pointed conversation where she demands to know why he never uses her name (and he has a good reason). The idea is that their two paths will cross at the other times and in the other places and their romance will progress. It is just that I find the idea of the romance unnecessary at best. What international disaster relief operatives have to do to not just try and get the job done but to survive is fascinating by itself, as the second act in Cambodia amply proves. Besides, I am much more interested in the rest of Callahan's group, such as Elliott Hauser (Noah Emmerich), than the sparks between Sarah and Callahan. By the time we get to the final act in Checnya, the film is reduced to those two and the relief effort is barely in the background.
The other problem with the last act is that it is telegraphed. When a movie stops so a driver can explain his artifical leg and the climax takes place in Checnya, you have to see the ending coming (especially with the red herring of the opening piano piece). Overall I give the Ethiopia part a 5, the Cambodia part a 4, and the interludes and the Checnya part a 3. That averages out to a 4, but "Beyond Borders" deserves that simply because although the romance takes over the movie in the end, the human misery depicted is not easy to forget and that is worth something. Plus, I appreciate the idea that when people are starving to death there is a point where it does not matter than there are people with guns trying to tell you want to do.