Projections - Movie Reviews

Beyond Borders

Some may think that Beyond Borders mirrors Angelina Jolie's life since being a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations since 2001 and adopting a Cambodian child.  A humanitarian with a pampered lifestyle is lured toward war-torn countries with adventure and romance waiting for her.  Yet, her new film is a drama that masks suffering in favor of disaster relief.

The script from Caspian Tredwell-Owen covers a period in the mid 80's to 90's with a Clash song at a London ball symbolizing the milieu of Jolie's Sarah Jordan.  Her unconcerned husband businessman (Linus Roache) sees her whisked off from a very Montreal-like London to refugee camps at the behest of the virile Dr. Nick Callahan (Olive Owen of The Bourne Identity).  Sarah passes from Ethiopia to Cambodian, well staged by Campbell, and Chechnya.

The tough international relief doctor and the glamorous good Samaritan are leery toward one another at the outset.  But, of course, it all turns amorous as Sarah is often seen caressing a baby in her arms in perilous situations.  The best scenes involve the relief workers and the very innocent and young on the killing fields when Campbell isn't broadly sketching out all the juicy international intrigue like a 007 or Lara Croft adventure.  The film makes the Doctors Without Borders strife less probing than it should have been.

Still, Jolie often looks as good as her iconic Tomb Raider though her relationship with Owen doesn't really click at all.  Owen doesn't register as a model of his profession rather than getting in the right position to look good opposite his mutual love.  His partner as acted by Noah Emmerich (The Truman Show) is more convincing in extreme conditions.  There's a smarmy CIA operative done sharply by Yorick van Wageninger and Teri Polo is part of Tredwell-Owen's episodic handling of the plot as Sarah's reporter sister.

Ultimately, Beyond Borders can't create a viable passion for philanthropy and romance while contrasting the tragedies lushly shot in Namibia and Thailand with the simmering feelings perfunctorily portrayed by Jolie and Owen.  It may have resonant qualities for a busy, impressionable actress who has visited places like Pakistan and seems naive in how the suffering and struggles are sacrificed for what is exotic.

Beyond Borders

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