Beyond Borders (2003)

Beyond Borders
Director: Martin Campbell
Writer: Caspian Tredwell-Owen
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Clive Owen, Teri Polo, Linus Roache, Noah Emmerich

Sarah (Angelina Jolie) who recently married Henry (Linus Roache), led a generally very sheltered life among the upper class. But that world is pretty much shattered when Nick (Clive Owen) turns up at a charity event. Nick works as a doctor in a refugee camp in Ethiopia from where he dragged a starving boy to London. Nick rants against the charity which just stopped funding his refugee camp and impresses Sarah a lot, as much with his demeanor as with his speech. Inspired, she decides to help herself and organizes a giant care package that she accompanies to Ethiopia herself.

Beyond Borders is kitsch as kitsch can. Seriously, this is pure cheese. It’s basically a Nicholas Sparks novel in front of a humanitarian background. And as such, it is strangely entertaining.


Beyond Borders is completely ridiculous and absolutely unrealistic. Don’t expect to learn much about the horrors of refugee camps, starving children or the political situation in Africa (or later, Asia). It’s exactly the kind of movie and story a well-meaning, well-off European who has never set a foot in Africa would make about these issues. And for some reason that makes it incredibly fun to watch.

If you think seeing Angelina Jolie, clad all in white, traipsing through a refugee camp that has nothing – but a perfectly-tuned piano where she can play classical music and so make Clive Owen fall in love with her… if you think that that is funny, you’ll enjoy this film. You’ll also enjoy this film if you think that Clive Owen is hot, because dammit, he’s hot.


But honestly, the way both Sarah and Nick are introduced, you just want to hit them over the head. Repeatedly. And then never ever see them again. They both get better, but it’s really not a good way to introduce your protagonists. At least Noah Emmerich’s character is relatable all the way through.

[SPOILER] The movie’s tagline is “Hope Survives.” Which makes it all the more delicious that Sarah does not. Especially since her death was unnecessary as hell and only done for its tear-jerking properties. [/SPOILERS]


Summarising: To be fair, this movie is a trainwreck. But you don’t really want to look away.

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