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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 6 September 2004
It's a really good film looking at the area of humanitarian relief and world problems, and is also very moving character-wise. There is real chemistry between the two protagonists and it is very sad and also very sweet. It certainly made me think and it's great that it wasn't the usual Hollywood rubbish.
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on 20 August 2004
I was standing at my local video store looking for something to watch. I got this film out as a last resort and was hugely suprised by how good it was. Now i'm not talking oscar here, but it was compelling. I admire Jolie because she is clearly using this film as a way of highlighting the world issues she spends so much of her free time pioneering for. The love element is also believable and actually quite touching.
It's was lot more cleaver than I initially gave it credit for. I'd recommend it.
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on 23 May 2011
Great movie for reminiscing if you ever travelled off the beaten track - sad ending - makes some good points. Really enjoyed it.
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on 8 July 2005
Sarah has just married and is feeling on top of the world. Her husband is from a rich family whose charitable foundation has cut off money to a project in Ethopia. When Sarah learns of this she uses her own savings to travel to there and get aid to the camp concerned. Nick, the cynical doctor who runs the camp, resents Sarah's presence at first.
The film spans 20 years or so (1984 to 2003) and is split between London and a few places we've seen on the news in recent years. It is lots of things: a romance similar in the tradition of Romancing the Stone (but without the humour), a drama about a woman in a loveless marriage and an examination around the issues of refugees and aid in foreign countries (including the offer made by the mysterious Steiger).
In a way, the film is an appeal for people to remember those in troubled parts of world but is cynical rather than preachy. Sarah is the young idealistic one and Nick is the cynic to get the job done.
The film is slow in places but most of the time the plot keeps moving. I am glad I saw it on DVD as, in some parts, the speech is indistinct and I had to switch on subtitles to catch what was being said.
If you like films like Doctor Zhiavago(sp?) and The Way We Were then you'll probably like this.
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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.
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on 26 March 2012
What annoyed me about this film is that is deals with a very deep and profound subject in such a lightweight way.
Clive Owen and Angelina Jolie are not the problem. Both of them are the only reason why i kept watching. But I know a bit about Cambodia and i also know she would never have got close to him in Chechnya and survived.She would have been gang-raped and then killed. The Cambodian sequence is not a true portrayal of the Khmer Rouge. The writer and director could not even be bothered to find out what kind of clothes the Khmer Rouge wore. The most basic of details, completely ignored. Clive Owen's character would never have brought that little African kid all the way to show him to those people at the beginning because the child was near to death and Owen was playing a doctor and would have known that. He would have probably made a film of conditions instead, so that is pretty shallow in the way it was done, just for effect, with a writer and director most likely saying "hey do you know what would be really cool...bla bla bla." To do a story like this justice it needed to be about 45 minutes longer, and epic in the way that Dr Zhivago is epic, and written and directed by people who bothered to research the fine details and were more concerned about realism than sensationalism.This is just popcorn fodder, but if it plants a seed in some people and makes them want to go and help others, then it has served a higher purpose.
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on 1 December 2014
Folks volunteering for disaster relief should see this movie. Also a very touching and romantic movie
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on 11 September 2015
Excellent film which arrived on time and was as described new and packaged extremely well
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on 29 February 2016
this was just awesome, really good, well worth the money and highly recommended to all.
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on 17 July 2014
received in good order. a good and interesting film with great actors.
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