Paramount Home Entertainment
Date: March 23, 2004
Review posted: April 6, 2004
While attending a
fundraising gala, Sarah Jordan (Angelina Jolie),
a naive, married American socialite living in England, witnesses
plea delivered by an intruder-renegade humanitarian, Dr. Nick
Callahan (Clive Owen). His plea, made on behalf of impoverished
African children under his care, turns Sarah's life upside down.
Attracted to Nick and his cause, she impulsively abandons her
sheltered life in England to work along side him in his effort
to aid the helpless and anguished victims. Directed by
is a film about something good; the people and implications of
relief work in poor countries. The script is very well researched,
contains interesting dialogue, and features some really good
moments. However, in between those things is a love story between
two people who more or less come from opposite sides of society,
but their passion to help others brings them together. The romance
between Sarah and Nick doesn't come to fruition until late in the
film. At first they seem to dislike each other, but as they work
together they begin to see things in common.
I'd say this sounds
quite good on the page, but it doesn't really work in this film.
The romance subplot fails to entice and seem important.
Alternatively, the script is more focused on the subject of relief
work, which is good. Yet it doesn't go to places right away,
instead moving along rather slowly. I don't really mind the film's
pace, but I wish the script would've presented a more whole and
satisfying storyline. The film is very clearly structured into
three acts, and it's a little too obvious, not to mention things
move pretty slow after sixty-minute mark.
is not a terrible film. It contains several really good scenes. I
like the mysteriousness about Clive Owen's character, and the
actor really stands out here. Angelina Jolie makes a decent
impression, playing the central character of the story when Nick
Callahan is much more interesting. I think the script tells the
story from the wrong point of view as I was much more interested
in the life of Nick. There's a very small subplot regarding Nick
and the smuggling of guns, an aspect I wish the script would've
explored, among others, instead of showing us Sarah's faint family
life back in England.
Campbell delivers a strong film in the sense that it is well-made.
The cinematography is beautiful, and the locations excellent and
rigorous. The acting is really good here, as is James Horner's
score. It's really too bad the script didn't focus on the right
things. Beyond Borders could've been a powerful film. Its
message is invigorating, and it says something really strong about
the importance of people like Nick Callahan. Problems
withstanding, the film is decent for the most part. Instead, the
film ends with an overblown tragedy that says nothing.
Paramount presents Beyond
Borders in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The cinematography
for the film is absolutely beautiful, and this presentation
looks pretty good. Aside from a little edge enhancement, the
quality is quite solid. Colors are well-defined, sharp, and
detailed. Each of the film's three acts consist of specific
looks and colors, such as the gritty yellow/brown in the middle
half and the deep blue during the last 25 minutes. The print
image is generally quite clean. There are no problems with dirt or
Paramount presents Beyond
Borders in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound. Sound
effects of all levels are nicely reinforced by the rear
speakers, and dialogue is clear and easy to understand. James
Horner's score sounds pretty nice also. The front speakers do a
really good job, but the surrounds don't maintain a steady
output. Overall, a pretty good presentation.
Also available is
an English Dolby track as well as a French Dolby dub.
I'm a little
surprised at the amount of extras on this release, and I'm also
surprised how good they are.
The commentary by
director Martin Campbell and Producer Lloyd Phillips contains
interesting information on the production, the story, and the
relief work process. It's not a great track, but a pretty decent
Behind the Lines: The Making of Beyond Borders is
divided into part 1 (18:41) and part 2 (18:40). I'm not really sure
why this isn't just a whole documentary, but that's beside the point.
Both parts take a behind-the-scenes look at the filming process,
including locations in Canada, Africa, and Thailand. Interviews
with the main cast and crew are also featured. Overall, both parts
contribute information that's generally more interesting than the
The Writing of Beyond Borders (7:32) is a conversation with
screenwriter Caspian Tredwell-Owen. Interestingly, he spent some two
years researching and writing the script. If you didn't like the film
you probably won't find anything here, but it's a nice little
featurette on a subject (screenwriting) that's not always acknowledged
in most DVD extras.
Angelina: Goodwill Ambassador (3:40) focuses on Jolie's work as
a UNHCR ambassador. The featurette follows Jolie and several members
visiting a camp in Thailand.
select to view the film with optional English subtitles. The
126-minute feature is organized into
? chapters. There is no paper insert for this release.
Beyond Borders is
a decent film, but I wonder what Oliver Stone, who originally planned
to direct, would have done. Clive Owen is a standout in a
film that should've focused on the subject of relief workers instead
of a romance. Video/audio is very good, and the extras are
VERDICT: RENT IT
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