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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Borderline (2002)

"How many times did I wish Paul dead? And her, too?"
- Lila (Gina Gershon)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: May 07, 2003

Stars: Gina Gershon, Sean Patrick Flanery, Michael Biehn
Other Stars: Nick Boraine, Eddie Driscoll, Daniella Napoli, Natasha Napoli
Director: Evelyn Maude Purcell

MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and some sexuality
Run Time: 01h:33m:55s
Release Date: May 06, 2003
UPC: 043396098664
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ C-B-B- D+

DVD Review

I'm sure a lot of state penitentiaries have sexy clinical psychiatrists like the one Gina Gershon plays in Borderline. I'm sure prisoners would be all but feigning crazy just for the chance to spend an hour on her couch, but of course in the made-for-cable movie world it's not all wine and roses, because she's also a recovering alcoholic framed for the murder of her sniveling ex-husband who has succeeded in taking custody of her two adorable young girls.

Gershon plays good doctor Lila Coletti, and when her ex-husband and his fiancee end up with a belly full of fatal stab wounds, she is considered a prime suspect by brooding Detective Kobacek (Michael Biehn), a man whom she knows quite well, if you get my drift. Suspicions shift when the modus operandi points to Ed, a recently released patient of Lila's played with a vague helping of stammer and rage by Sean Patrick Flanery. Or did Lila expertly stage the murder to look like the work of Ed?

The problem with Borderline is that I didn't really care about anyone in it. The screenplay establishes right up front that Lila is a great, caring mom, so if it turned out she offed her ex to keep custody, what's it to me? The dead ex only gets a couple of scenes, and both times he was an Grade A irritant, so when he was knifed I didn't really feel like I had lost an old, dear friend or anything. Yet, with 90 minutes to kill, director Evelyn Maude Purcell has to wander through some predictable red herrings and implausible scenarios, with Gershon's Lila pouting that lovely Joker mouth of hers with all manner of concern and anxiety.

I'm not sure how Michael Biehn degenerated into made-for-cable-in-South-Africa-doubling-as-the-United-States stuff like Borderline, but I wish he could get back into more substantial action films like he used to star in. How does one go from big popcorn flicks like The Abyss, The Terminator or The Rock to this? Anyone, absolutely anyone at all could have played the weary, rugged detective in this film, and Biehn just sleepwalks through it. Too bad.

This is one of those movies that probably plays best on cable (as opposed to something you might go out and actually rent), where most folks might catch bits and pieces of it here and there, when expectations of well-developed drama are much lower.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: A mediocre, occasionally poor, 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer from Columbia TriStar on this one. The trouble spots here are the night scenes, or worse yet, the scenes lit by what should have been mood-enhancing candle light; this is when the transfer takes on a lot of grain, and even some red color bleed, as well. Black levels are a little soft, and some of the shadows sort of swallow up the action at times. It's a completely different story during daylight moments, when fleshtones and colors actually look quite bright and warm, and those moments helped keep the grade from slipping to a C+.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Don't expect too much glossy goodness out of the 5.1 Dolby Digital surround, and though there is nothing inherently problematic with the audio transfer, it doesn't exactly resonate with any particular depth. Dialogue is clean and well-presented, but the overall soundstage lacks the kind of fullness that separates averages mixes from good ones.

A French 2.0 surround track is also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Darkness Falls, Sniper 2, So Close
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Not much to choose from in terms of extras, other than a trio of trailers (Darkness Falls, Sniper 2, So Close).

The disc is cut into a healthy 28 chapters, and includes Columbia TriStar's usual varietal batch of subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, or Thai.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Borderline is just that. Borderline, that is.

The characters were barely marginally interesting (though it was simple to see why so many prisoners were eager to have Gina Gershon as a therapist), and I just didn't really care whodunit. Apparently neither did the screenwriter.


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