Beyond the Border (UK - DVD R2)
Our Marcus crosses the border in the middle of WWII in this new war flick....
1942. Guarding the Swedish border against the German Army that are yet to invade is proving tiresome for the Swedish soldiers who believe Germany has no intention to attack them. When inquisitive solider Sven (Martin Wallström) is captured after his intrigue in the unseen enemy gets the best of him, his brother, Lieutenant Aron Stenström (André Sjöberg) pulls together a team to go across the border into enemy territory and get him back.
For all its sensitivity and warm moments between Aron and his wife, Beyond the Border (or simply The Border as the trailer and even the film itself tells me) is a pretty routine wartime story of a personal mission against the odds. There are gunfights and sneaking around and all the camaraderie the genre generates and while I appreciated the human sides of these soldiers there’s nothing all that unique about this tale and everything feels a little too paint by numbers to leave a mark.
That said there are a handful of good performances, especially from the lead André Sjöberg, who while quite quiet in his role still generates a strong emotional core that carries us through the story and makes many of the cliché stepping stones of a war movie a little more personal despite their familiarity.
Despite the cold Swedish setting, the visuals here have a surprising warmth to them and it's also very clean as opposed to opting for the gritty wartime grain. Because of this there’s a nice depth to the image and anything in the foreground really looks great within the frame. Detail is good throughout with some close ups looking incredibly sharp despite the standard definition presentation and while the movie is a little samey with its out in the open snow covered setting the transfer is consistently good from the bluer daytime scenes to the orange glow lighting of the night time scenes.
For the most part the Dolby Surround track is little else beyond dialogue and foreboding score (as well as the crutch of trodden in snow of course) but when the machine-gun fire kicks off it’s shockingly realistic. There’s a startling amount of strength to the sound effects and the atmospherics of falling shells and zipping bullets brings these battles to life like the best war movies out there. It’s not all that exciting beyond that peak but the track is a solid one none the less.
The only extra here is the trailer (02:19) so how much of this is based on fact will be up to you to find out on the internet I guess.
Beyond the Border is a good enough war film that holds its own in the genre. It’s by no means exceptional or all that remarkable but it’s got a solid story to tell and it does a good enough job telling it. Of course there’s plenty better out there with similar themes and missions but fans of the genre should find plenty to like here even if all the beats play a familiar tune. The disc looks pretty great and has some cracking machine gun audio (even if the rest of the track is pretty routine). The only let down is the lack of features really.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 8th August 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Surround 5.1 Swedish, Dolby Stereo 2.0 Swedish
Easter Egg: No
Director: Richard Holm
Cast: André Sjöberg, Martin Wallström
Genre: Drama and War
Length: 116 minutes
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