Beyond Borders on DVD
Beyond Borders is the kind of movie that goes beyond the borders of bad moviemaking,
and soars way past insulting - within the first ten minutes.
Angelina Jolie plays Sarah Jordan, a member of an organization that helps starving
people in less fortunate countries.
When Nick Callahan (Clive Owen) crashes the organizations 20th Anniversary
party, hes clearly upset about something. He manages to give a speech
without anyone stopping him, and we quickly learn that he belongs to an overseas
charity that has just had its funding cut by someone in the room.
Hes angry because these people are throwing a $1000 a plate dinner party
while there are people starving in Africa, just like the boy he brought with
him to inspire sympathy.
His plan works, to a point. Sarah feels bad, and decides to head to Africa
to help out. On the way to the village in question, she stops to pick up a dying
woman and her baby, who looks like hes never eaten a single bite in his
life. From there, things get more intense as Sarah does everything in her power
to save a starving, war-torn country from slipping deeper into helplessness,
while trying to maintain a clichéd, Hollywood-style romance with Nick.
It doesnt take long to figure out in which direction the movie is going.
Within ten minutes it becomes one of the most politically correct, anti-capitalist
pieces of tripe Ive yet seen. But then, when you think about it a little
more, you realize its not anti-capitalist at all: it basically says money
is good, as long as youre giving it to someone less fortunate (who not
only didnt do a thing to earn it, but who also probably wouldnt
know what to do with it if they had it). It makes us wonder exactly how much
of the movies multi-million dollar budget went towards feeding starving
The little boy that Sarah picks up is done, for some reason, entirely by CGI.
The only logical reason we can come up with for such a thing, is that they couldnt
find an African boy dilapidated enough for their liking. But this, then, makes
it feel like theyre exaggerating how bad things really are, and theyre
just trying to make us feel guilty for not sending every penny we earn overseas.
It doesnt do much for the movies credibility, and its not
the kind of feeling we like to get from something thats supposed to entertain
Not only is the CGI poorly done (by 2004 standards, at least), but the baby
looks like some kind of ghost-devil baby. If its trying to inspire sympathy,
it shouldnt look so creepy.
Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen do a good job with the lead roles, and the production
values are great, but the movie is far too terrible to be worth anyones
time. People with money are evil, people who fight for freedom are evil; the
only good people are the ones who physically go and help in the villages. Interestingly
enough, every one of these people seem to be eating okay, so it seems to me
if they really cared about their cause, theyd give their food up (but
I guess its anti-money, not anti-food).
The fact that I was insulted right off the bat by Beyond Borders is bad enough.
The fact that its also a very tediously bad movie makes it that much harder
to get through. Recommended only for people with very strong stomachs.
Though the movie was one of Ms. Jolies bigger flops (and there have been
some big ones), the DVD of Beyond Borders is actually pretty good. Presented
in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, the picture is pretty good for the most part,
but colors look a little muddy. The desert scenes are well done, with excellent
detail and not a trace of grain. But during the scenes that take place in the
city, colors look a bit like theyre going to run away (maybe its
more PC crap; theyre trying to say the world we live in is fake
that the only true life is sitting around and starving. Or maybe Im still
just a little upset).
The audio, presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, is a little better, but still not
spectacular. Surrounds are not given much of a workout (despite plenty of opportunities),
and the score sounds a little overdubbed. Dialogue and sound effects are separated
well, and the subwoofer rumbles nicely.
Extras include a 40-minute making-of featurette thats been split into
two parts (and advertised that way) for some reason.
The thing about this doc is that, even though its pretty well produced
and informative, its hard to justify spending forty more minutes on this
Theres also an audio commentary by director Martin Campbell (who gave
us some good stuff, before now) and producer Lloyd Phillips, which I was hoping
was going to be one big apology. But its actually interesting to hear
them talk about the films drawbacks, and it seems the studio had a large
role to play in the final cut of the film. Hmm
Other extras include an 8-minute conversation with writer Caspian Tredwell-Owen,
and a featurette on Angelina Jolies goodwill efforts to help refugees.
Beyond Borders, from Paramount Home Entertainment
126 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Angelina Jolie, Clive Owen, Teri Polo, Linus Roache, Noah Emmerich
Produced by Dan Halsted and Lloyd Phillips
Written by Caspian Tredwell-Owen, Directed by Martin Campbell
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think