Beyond Borders
Directed by Martin Campbell
Written by Caspian Tredwell-Owen
Starring Angelina Jolie, Clive Owen


Beyond Borders

"Beyond Borders" belongs in that neverland of weepy romance novels aimed at housewives who wanted to picture themselves in romantic locations, falling in love with heroic men, joining them in their work, and then - choose one - either living happily or dying gloriously at the end. Angelina Jolie, her tattoos covered by makeup once again but her famous lips starting to look a little flappy, is our heroine. It is 1984, and she is Sarah Jordan, about to be married to London heir Henry Bauford (Linus Roache). They are at a charity ball, when in rushes sexy and romantic doctor without borders Nick Callahan (Clive Owen), starving Ethiopian boy in hand, to trash the wealthy for drinking champagne while children starve. Naturally Sarah is moved; in fact she purchases truckloads of supplies for Nick's refugee camp and leads the parade through the desert with the goods, stopping on the way only to save a (truly) starving boy from the vultures, all while wearing an unstained, unmarked gauzy white pant suit. (And what is the unacknowledged story behind that boy being used in the film?) We watch as Doctor Nick and his faithful American companion Elliott (Noah Emmerich) tend to the sick and dying, fend off the corrupt president who comes to visit, and steal his car's drive shaft to run the pump for the camp's water well.

Sparks strike, as we say, between Sarah and Nick, but are not consummated. Cut to 1989, five years later, when she now works for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees AND has a seven-year-old son. Miracle? Bad film continuity? You decide. And her marriage to Henry, who has the thankless role of Sarah's silent supporter, is on the rocks. Oh, and I almost forgot the mysterious CIA agent Steiger (Yorick Van Wageningen), who has a terrible hold over Nick. At any rate, Nick is now in the jungles of Cambodia, saving more lives with the help of the ever-faithful Elliott; and once again Sarah gets the call to go help him. This time, things go badly for the poor refugees, and for Elliott, but very well for Nick and Sarah, who finally get to consummate their love.

Cut to 1995, exactly five years and nine months later, when Sarah now has a little five-year-old girl to go with the boy, who in all these years seems to have grown only an inch or two. But now poor Nick has been captured by Chechen rebels, and Sarah must go to him once again. And here we come to the climax, if that's not too strong a word: Either the two will emerge unscathed, or at least just wounded, and live together happily ever after, or somebody will sacrifice herself that her lover can live - albeit with his five-year-old daughter and the memory of her mother. My thin lips are sealed.