Nick Callahan (Clive Owen) crashes an AID Relief International party in order to make a group of art-loving rich people feel guilty about drinking champagne while his young Ethiopian sidekick goes hungry. If the man’s temper tantrum is seemingly misdirected, that’s because he’s really there to tug at society-wife Sarah Jordan’s (Angelina Jolie) philanthropic heartstrings. In Ethiopia, Sarah gets to save a CGI child from a vulture, and for one banal hour it appears as if Martin Campbell’s dated Beyond Borders is halfway interested in illuminating the difficulties faced by relief workers in foreign countries. But when Sarah makes her way back to London, it’s obvious that the film’s self-important first half is an apologia of sorts for the romantic burlesque that follows. Throughout the course of the film’s grueling two hours, Jolie’s Carmen Sandiego travels to no less than three continents. In between battling the dentally-challenged Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and helping Nick out of an explosive hostage situation in Chechnya, she spends several lonely years in London working for the United Nations. Considering the lack of attention given to her loveless marriage to Henry Bauford (Linus Roache), the filmmakers would have you believe that Sarah spends her non-relief time tinkling piano keys and making provocative statements like, “Perhaps we’re all refugees from something.” When Nick crashes the AID Relief International function, even he can’t tell if he’s making a cry for help or a cry for attention. Beyond Borders is mostly the latter. Instead of humanizing the nondescript victims of the film’s three featured nations, the filmmakers use the horrors of these people’s lives to get the attention of middle-aged housewives. Why save the world when Angelina Jolie can do it for you…and get laid at the same time?
This has absolutely nothing to do with the video and audio quality (by the way, both are just fine), but has anyone noticed that Angelina Jolie is doing for feature films what Susan Lucci did for TV movies in the '80s?
When your film is as bad as Beyond Borders, should you be pitied or admired for taking it as seriously as director Martin Campbell and producer Lloyd Phillips do on this commentary track? This isn't exactly essential listening, but because the information is more anecdotal than technical, it's not an absolute bore-apparently the CGI-enhanced kid in the film Angelina Jolie saves from a vulture was really a pot-bellied tyke who, rather than act as vulture bait, wanted to build sand castles whenever the director yelled "action." Since one behind-the-scenes featurette was apparently too much too handle, "Behind the Lines: The Making of Beyond Broders" is available here in two parts. The cast and crew's exploits in America, England and Sarajevo are explored in the first part and the film's Ethiopian refugee camp (shot in Namibia) and hellish Cambodia locale (shot in Thailand) are represented in the second part. For those who didn't see Jolie on "20/20," enjoy "Angelina: Goodwill Ambassador," which allows the humanitarian to talk about her experiences as an UNHCR ambassador. Rounding out the disc is a conversation with screenwriter Caspian Tredwell-Owen, whose love for goodwill ambassadors is probably as unmistakable as his love for Danielle Steel, as well as trailers for Tupac: Resurrection, Timeline, Paycheck and The Perfect Score.
Studios need to stop putting Earl Dittman quotes on the cover of their DVDs or I will never review their product ever again. I mean, seriously, listen to this: "A daringly original film. This is the quintessential love story for the new millennium."