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?
- Martin Campbell
- Caspian Tredwell-Owen
- Angelina Jolie, Clive Owen, Teri Polo, Linus Roache, Noah Emmerich, Yorick van Wageningen, Timothy West, Kate Trotter
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