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Beyond Borders
2003 - R - 127 Mins.
Director: Martin Campbell
Producer: Dan Halsted and Lloyd Phillips
Written By: Caspian Tredwell-Owen
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Clive Owen, Linus Roache, Teri Polo, and Noah Emmerich
Review by: Joe Rickey
A brief meeting in London between a rich socialite and a humanitarian is just the beginning of much more. After they are separated by world events, the socialite treks across the world in a quest to find her lost love. Beyond Borders is directed by Martin Campbell (Vertical Limit) and stars Angelina Jolie (Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) and Clive Owen (The Bourne Identity).

Beyond Borders is a film replete with stunning cinematography of various exotic locales around the world. This cinematography is by far the best part of this production. It is not often that a film features such a variety of locations as this one does, even filming in Cambodia. The film utilizes its high production values in its favor, to say the least as they add a high amount of atmosphere to the proceedings. In fact, it was during the filming of Beyond Borders that Angelina Jolie adopted her child, Maddox, from Cambodia.

The film also benefits from solid lead performances by Clive Owen and Angelina Jolie. He is suitably kind-hearted and she is equally suitable as the tough-minded person who loves him. The supporting cast also gives able performances in their limited amount of screen time. The film also doesn’t make the mistake of shying away from the bloodiness inherent in war. It might have been tempting to edit down the battle sequences in an attempt to get the film the coveted PG-13 rating but thankfully, Beyond Borders portrays war as the terribly violent occasion that it is.

Not all is well though with Beyond Borders. The film seems to be a case of a project suffering from post-production tinkering to no end. Rumor has it that the original cut of the film was over three hours in length. In its current form, the film runs just over two hours and various subplots are therefore inevitably given the short shrift. Not only that, the film piles much too many of the included subplots so that it is sometimes frustrating to attempt to keep up with what is occurring.

It is even more unfortunate that there is a lack of character development; affecting even the main characters. The lack of character development makes it quite the chore to care that much about what happens to each individual character and when one finds it difficult to care about the characters, there isn’t much else that can be done to make the overall film anything more than mediocre.

The film also has other detrimental qualities. Unlike the subtle and effective cinematography, the music is much too overbearing as it blasts its way into the generic movie music hall of fame, as if such a place existed. There is nothing original in the composition, though the film would have benefited greatly from an emotionally riveting score.

Overall, Beyond Borders features solid performances and well-filmed battle sequences but, unfortunately, also features a surprising lack of character development beyond the artificial, too many needless subplots that aren’t fully developed, and a musical score that is sub par at best. All this makes for one mediocre film.

Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

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