Movie review: Beyond Borders
By Sana Husain
Mood suitability: The escapist instinct, relevant in times of Syrian crisis and Brexit
Star-studded flair: 3/5
From a reserved exterior in London, 1984, Sarah (Angelina Jolie), an American married to the son of a wealthy British industrialist, ponders about the purpose of life, as she plays the piano. In contrast, she’s dancing away to the rock and roll music from her past, at a London charity ball, with crème de la crème of the society. The plot spins about Nick (Clive Owen), an English Doctor, who barges in with an undernourished African boy child, to rouse emotions, but in vain. Unlike others who mock him and have him arrested, it leaves an indelible mark on Sarah’s mind.
The tiny pinch of culture comparison in U.S and U.K is relatively harmless, in front of what ensues. Acting upon her will, Sarah leaves her cosy lifestyle to help the children in Africa, by overcoming stereotypes and going the extra mile to raise funds.
Hopping onto the parched land tour in Africa, she holds a compassionate view towards the natives. With a slight glitch, she tries to blend herself into their world. When her eyes fall upon a malnourished boy lying on the ground, she gets off her vehicle and is passionately driven to save him.
The viewer is pitched with the idea of gruesome scarcity as well as outright denseness, when the doctor questions the perfume Angelina seems to be wearing while he operates the mother of the malnourished child, amidst flies.
Carefully, the movie grips onto one, when the mother voices her grief, as translated by a man in the vicinity, “She feels the pangs of hunger, but she knows that death is more hungry than pain, so she gives thanks to you.”
Sarah patiently treats the malnourished child, as well as Nick’s cynicism in no time. When she feeds the child water, in his cradle, lined up next to others, Nick, the doctor quickly vibes her gestures and decides to provide her the nurse, if the child is responsive.
In a desert of hutments and relief camps, the Westerners hope for survival, as one plans a defecation place around.
One celebrates the moment of triumph, when the child is revived and Nick smilingly confirms it to Sarah.
Due to the burgeoning size of real-time challenges in the hands of poverty, the movie throws light on money changing hands while arranging for food relief, deathly number of risks to be undertaken, unsupportive
top bureaucrats and the like.
The intense space gives way to the bond between these relief workers, especially Nick and Sarah.
As Sarah attempts to decrypt the arrogant doctor of a Nick, while she demands for a reason why he doesn’t refer to her by the name, he responds, “Everyone I lose has a name,” and he is compelled to remember them.
On that note, she flies back to her husband and boy child, in 1989. To add to her woes, her husband is unemployed.
Yet, she stands by his side, for the situation to get sorted.
Sarah’s new association with U.N again lands her in a broken world of Cambodia, yet reunited with Nick.This time, he’s ready to bend rules(such as transporting guns) for saving people dying from measles.
In the brutality of hunger games, there’s no shoulder for a baby crying in the chaos. But, the movie offers insight into finding true love in a hopeless place. Sarah confesses her deeply rooted care for Nick. Well, Nick is equally crazy about her, but refutes their relationship, due to his frequent bouts with daredevil acts.
She is left with no choice but to return home, having the second child, a girl. A happy family picture, of her birthday celebration doesn’t please her as much as the war-torn doctor’s presence in her life.
As soon as Nick’s letter reaches her, she wants to find him again, sensing trouble.
“Perhaps, we are all refugees from something. But, now I realize that there’s nothing to fear- that the worlds we hold onto, the lives we cherish, are part of something greater. It’s clear when I see my children, that the chance of life is worth fighting for,” leaves one in effective contemplation with Sarah.
The piano tune divide in each of her life’s phases makes the viewer more attached to the scenario, as the movie progresses.
Should the misery of deprived companionship draw further misery closer?
Sarah ventures to uncover the boundless love that moves her beyond borders, in heat, cold and bloodshed.
In despair, however, she seeks Nick and finally shares that they have a daughter, who is in London.
Despite being bombed, pushed by an avalanche, they begin to manage walking together, when they hear the terrorists chasing after them.
Instead of letting them die together, he requests Sarah to get help as soon as possible. But, as he’s shot twice by them, she detonates the bomb, which she stumbles upon at that moment.
In a twist of destiny, Nick is saved and ends up reading her letter, where she expresses their affinity, untouched by the past days and nights, thus closing it with “I love you Nick.”
The scene rises to life, striking the viewer in one of the most ultimate and heart-shattering ways.
Nick finds a calling to Sarah’s place, where their daughter is emulating her mother on piano.
Being the female lead, Angelina Jolie plays all the right notes. Surprisingly, her co-star, Clive Owen matches up to the marvelous theme and tear-jerking performance.