These days, it seems like good intentions should at least count for something. Beyond Borders is obviously a well-meaning film.
It was made with the obvious intent of conveying a message about ignorance and neglect of third world countries and how it needs to be stopped.
Unfortunately, the movie also suffers from an extreme case of overkill. The message is so overt and overdone, the experience of the film is less of an informative experience and more akin to getting beaten over the head with the message.
It doesn’t help that this bludgeoning of a message comes amidst what is meant to be a tender love story.
The film features two star-crossed lovers, Sarah (Angelina Jolie) and Nick (Clive Owen). As the movie opens, Sarah was recently married to Henry (Linus Roache).
Nick has devoted his life to helping the hungry and underprivileged. Sarah is living a peaceful life in England when Nick comes into her life.
At a dinner she is attending, Nick crashes the dinner along with an emaciated young child, in an impromptu attempt to create support for his cause.
The effort sells Sarah, and she begins to offer financial and moral support. This is followed by a lot of skipping forward in time, where the two meet in several different African locations. Several things are revealed. One is that Nick loves Sarah.
Sarah also obviously loves Nick, but this really goes without saying. Nick, however, believes that because of his dangerous globetrotting, the two are doomed to never be together. It is also revealed that Nick has begun selling guns for the CIA in order to better fund his operation.
The failure of this movie really is not the fault of director Martin Campbell. In fact, this is one of his more impressive efforts to date.
He manages to inject each frame of the movie with a surprising amount of passion, and make some most unpleasant scenery seem almost romantic. Clive Owen is also not to blame.
He gives a dignified performance really undeserving of the character he plays. This man deserves to be a big star and hopefully will be one day.
The fault rather, lies with Angelina Jolie, who is one of the most overrated mainstream actresses working in Hollywood.
She turns in the same performance she does in every film, and her performance is presumably one of the main reasons the central romance is so unconvincing.
The cliched screenplay is another main reason. It hurls cliches out left and right (star crossed lovers, does the end justify the means, blah, blah, blah), all the while driving toward a completely overblown conclusion.
Good intentions do indeed count for something, but they don’t make investing two hours of your life completely worth it.
Chuck DelRoss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org