How low does BEYOND BORDERS stoop to toy with the audience's emotions? It has
a child endangerment scene in which a bad guy puts a loaded grenade into a
toddler's hands. As the little boy plays with the grenade and the firing pin,
we have to wait to see if his little limbs will be blown to bits or not.
Unconvincing, miscast and misdirected by Martin Campbell (VERTICAL LIMIT), the
movie stars Angelina Jolie as an art gallery worker who sells all of her
worldly goods to buy three days worth of food for a small, impoverished
Ethiopian village. As wealthy socialite Sarah Jordan, Jolie arrives in
Ethiopia dressed like a fashion model on a photo shoot in an exotic locale.
When she sees a starving child in a country filled with them, she yells out for
the aid truck to stop so that she can personally pick him up.
Once in the country, Sarah runs into Dr. Nick Callahan (Clive Owen), whom she
had met earlier in London in one of his many grandstanding protests. He tells
her many deep thoughts, including, "It's the weirdest, purest thing --
suffering." Nick is a doctor who insults the officials whose help he needs.
He's also quite willing to bend the rules and traffic in guns along with the
medicine if that is what it takes to complete his aid mission. Along the way,
he encounters CIA operatives who give advice such as, "Freedom is an expensive
The shameless story turns a real problem -- world hunger -- into an
exploitative movie that never rings true no matter how many genuine problems it
explores. As the camera focuses in on fly infested children dying of
malnutrition, you'll probably be thinking, "Shame on you!" to the filmmakers
for such exploitations in service of a flimsy love story, starring Jolie in a
series of shapely outfits and perfect make-up in one war-ravaged country after
BEYOND BORDERS runs way too long at 2:07. The film is rated R for "language
and war-related violence" and would be acceptable for most teenagers.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes