Beyond Borders (2003)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Beyond Borders is good-intentioned, but the use of human suffering as a backdrop for a romance comes across as sanctimonious and exploitative.

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Movie Info

Martin Campbell directs the romantic adventure Beyond Borders. Angelina Jolie stars as Sarah Jordan, a American living with her wealthy British husband, Henry Bauford (Linus Roache), in London during the early '80s. At a charity benefit, she meets passionate relief worker Nick Callahan (Clive Owen), who chastises the rich people for not helping out the needy in war-torn countries. Sarah is quickly compelled to join his humanitarian cause to fight the famine in Ethopia. She then follows him to Cambodia, where they start up a love affair and Nick gets involved in an arms-smuggling operation before they finally end up in Chechnya. Teri Polo appears as Sarah's international journalist sister, Charlotte.
Rating:
R (for language and war-related violence)
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Angelina Jolie
as Sarah Jordan
Clive Owen
as Nick Callahan
Teri Polo
as Charlotte Jordan
Linus Roache
as Henry Bauford
Noah Emmerich
as Elliot Hauser
Timothy West
as Lawrence Bauford
Kate Trotter
as Mrs. Bauford
John Gausden
as Jimmy Bauford
Isabelle Horler
as Anna Bauford
Iain Lee
as Master of Ceremonies
Kalyane Tea
as Steiger's Girlfriend
Julian Casey
as Police Officer
Norm Berketa
as Police Officer
Aidan Pickering
as TV Reporter
Tony Robinow
as Art Dealer
Faye Peters
as Monica
John Matshikiza
as Dawit Ningpopo
Zaa Nkweta
as Titus
Sahajak Boonthanakit
as Port Official
Dennis Tan
as Port Official
Burt Kwouk
as Colonel Gao
Jasmin Geljo
as Truck Driver
Manuel Tadros
as Chechen Mobster
Vladimir Radian
as Muslim Warlord
Emma Stevens
as Journalist
Rob Burns
as Journalist
Matthew Tiffin
as Journalist
Robin Wilcock
as Journalist
Mark Antony Krupa
as Russian Soldier
Roman Chtinov
as Russian Soldier
Donovan Ganeb
as Abraha
Melissa Auf Der Mar
as Charity Ball Band Bass Player
Sam Roberts
as Charity Ball Band Singer
Steve Durand
as Charity Ball Band Guitarist
Jordan Zadorozny
as Charity Ball Band Guitarist
Kelli Scott
as Charity Ball Band Drummer
Eric Digras
as Charity Ball Band Keyboardist
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Beyond Borders

All Critics (102) | Top Critics (36)

It all becomes little more than feel-good-about- feeling-bad window dressing, like an issue of Utne Reader in Dolby Surround Sound.

Full Review… | October 28, 2003
Village Voice
Top Critic

... an old-fashioned romance.

October 27, 2003
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

An unconvincing melodrama that seems more interested in pushing an agenda and preaching than in developing legitimate, compelling characters.

Full Review… | October 26, 2003
ReelViews
Top Critic

A melodrama with pretensions to humanitarian generosity.

Full Review… | October 26, 2003
Salon.com
Top Critic

Well-intentioned but astonishingly flat.

Full Review… | October 24, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

The premise of the movie deserves better.

October 24, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Beyond Borders

½

Fear not, foreigners trapped in horrible social and political turmoil, because Angelina Jolie is here to save you, as always! I love how this role of a humanitarian was essentially made for Jolie, and she still got a Razzie nod. I'm sure the Razzie people who just try and find something to pan were the only ones who saw this film, because, wow, this film bombed for a Martin Campbell flick. I can understand why the man did "The Legend of Zorro" right after this, because he need to get his money back, although I don't feel too sorry for him, because he just had to have known that a sequel that features Zorro taking his swashbuckling adventures across the border into America was a stupid idea. Actually, the ultimate Mexican border like that sounds a good bit more interesting than this film, which isn't to say that there isn't something rather intriguing about how this being some kind of a fantasy for Jolie. Star-crossed lovers try to save each other and victims of warfare in a dangerous, foreign land... starring Clive Owen as Brad Pitt, right? I guess Owen doesn't have that kind of star power, because, yeah, this film didn't make much money, and while I am that one guy who thinks that it is decent, I can kind of see places where this film turned people off. Trite in as many ways as it can be, this film is rich with clichéd dialogue that often falls incredibly flat, much like thin spots in the characterization that ends up supplementing melodramatics, namely those from a romantic angle that does not really gel with the rest of this drama. The focus of the film jars between humanitarianism and hopelessly histrionic romance, and that's awkward enough with it corrupting thematic consistency in storytelling that at least maintains consistency in manipulation. Caspian Tredwell-Owen's script utilizes contrived set and dialogue pieces to supplement a portrait on suffering, while Martin Campbell's direction delivers on overblown plays on score work and atmosphere to beget sentimentality which cheesily dilutes genuineness. The film is nothing if not manipulative, but less in a frustrating way, and more in an ambitious way which reflects this film's good intentions, betrayed by overblown storytelling that tries so desperately to salvage juice from its subject matter than the limitations of the subject matter itself go stressed. This is a story concept whose value can be emphasized as easily as it shortcomings can be, because through all of the themes on warfare and social turmoil is a somewhat simple study on people going from conflicting country to conflicting country to simply help the suffering, and outside of the romantic angles, there's not much meat on the bones of this narrative beyond that, and if there is, then the film takes itself to get to it. The film is too long, and it doesn't have the scope to justify its length that it could have had, superficialized by clichés, inconsistencies and contrivances that wear the final product down as very underwhelming, at best. Still, I don't find the final product to be quite as great of a misfire as many say it is, for as misguided as it is, it does have a gifted team whose talent can be muted for only so long. For all of its flat spots, Philip Meheux's cinematography has more than a few ruggedly handsome areas in its complimenting the bleak grit of corrupted environments that are built with remarkable convincingness and, of course, captivating sweep. This film has the potential and, in a few ways, the aspirations to be an epic, for although the plot is a touch thin in its happenings, its scale is commendable, and that does play a solid factor in the importance of this film's story concept. Although the film is a whole lot of nothing but helping, when it doesn't jar into a whole bunch of romantic melodrama and other such nonsense, humanitarian themes are worwhile, and they often do go into establishing a sound sense of conflict and consequence into a histrionic and superficial, but still promising story concept. Caspian Tredwell-Owen's script is consistently flimsy in how it handles promising subject matter, but Martin Campbell, as director, has his moments, delivering on subtle stylization and a solid sense of scope in order to immerse you into the distinct environments of this pseudo-epic, until finding realization in his celebration of James Horner's overblown, but solid score, which is either thoroughly sentimental, or genuine enough to resonate, particularly with a surprisingly engrossing final act. If Campbell does nothing else, he manages to keep up solid entertainment value through smooth pacing and an endearing atmosphere, and that should be enough to challenge mediocrity in between the dramatic highlights that are largely guided, not by Campbell, but by a talented cast. When used, Noah Emmerich plays Noah Emmerich, and is therefore very charming and relatable, but this is mostly Clive Owens' and Angelina Jolie's show, and although the two leads aren't able to keep up all that much chemistry with the thin dramatic writing, both deliver on genuine, sometimes powerful emotional range that is more than what this film deserves. There are times - especially when the plot thickens - in which Jolie and Owen carry the film, being capable enough leads to further emphasize the potential that is being portrayed by all of the misguided storytelling, which has enough highlights to secure the final product's decency, no matter how firmly challenged. Bottom line, clichés are almost as recurrent as superficialities, in thin characterization, trite melodramatics and contrivances which join an excessive length and inconsistencies in emphasizing what natural shortcomings there is to worthy story that is done much injustice, yet is done enough justice by handsome cinematography, sweeping visuals, lively and sometimes resonant direction, and strong performances by Clive Owen and Angelina Jolie for Martin Campbell's "Beyond Borders" to stand as a decent, if flimsy romantic drama and tribute to humanitarianism. 2.5/5 - Fair

Cameron Johnson
Cameron Johnson

Super Reviewer

Beyond Borders is an overly political and melodramatic film that doesn't have much of a plot. The film follows a wealth socialite that feels compelled to become involved with a world relief program and starts a torrid affair with an international aid worker. Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen lead the cast, but their performances so overdramatic that everything feels forced. The plot is especially weak and neither the story nor the characters are developed all that well. Unfortunately, Beyond Borders is little more than an exploitative piece of trite that plays on people's sympathies.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

This movie goes where others are afraid to go Show the lives of children in Africa. Clive Owen plays a take no Bull Shi^ from anybody and in the process falls in love with Miss Rich Girl who is married but still Sleeps with the Doctor anyway. Oh thats right its 2010, have so morals. Still all in all a 5 star movie

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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