Beyond the City Limits (2001) Poster

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Terrible Direction, Messy Screenplay, Awful Conclusion
Claudio Carvalho29 September 2006
The Russians smalltime crooks Sergei Akotia (Brian McCardie) and Yuri (Alexis Denisof) plan to hold up two million dollars from a casino with the inside information of the security guard Troy (Steve Harris) and the support of two dirty cops. When the two cops are killed, they decide to call off the heist and they kick out their girlfriends Misha (Nastassja Kinski) and Lexi (Alison Hannigan). Misha and Lexi meet an old friend of Misha, Helena Toretti (Jennifer Esposito), who is in a divorce process with the bored and upset detective Jack (Todd Field). The trio plots revenge against the guys and decide to rob the casino with Troy. But the plan turns upside-down with unpredictable events.

When I saw the names of Alison Hannigan (from Buffy), Alexis Denisof (from Angel) and the gorgeous Nastassja Kinski and Jennifer Esposito in the cast of this movie, I decided to ignore the bad reviews and IMDb Rating and watch it. Unfortunately, the reviews are right and this movie is really bad, with a messy screenplay and awful conclusion. The story is very confused, with a terrible direction that is not able to make a funny, or dramatic, or violent movie. There are some ridiculous parts, like for example when the two "Russians" argue in English with a weird accent. If they are Russians, wouldn't they speak in their native language while alone? The character of Alison Hannigan, Lexi, is awfully developed and never clear of her objectives and feelings. Brian McCardie looks like a cartoon with his character (or caricature?). I tried to find good and positive points in this movie, but with such unpleasant end with the fate of Misha it is impossible to like it. I have never read anything about this director, Gigi Gaston, but he was able to waste a good cast and I had a really bad experience watching this confused flick. My vote is four.

Title (Brazil): "Além dos Limites" ("Beyond the Limits")
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jhs393 December 2002
Lame Canadian heist flick will be of interest to Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans since it stars not only Allyson Hannigan (Willow) but also features Alexis Denisof (Wesley on Buffy and Angel). The movie seems like it might have been inspired by Bound, but it's unconvincing and dull. Of the three female leads Hannigan comes off best by far, bringing a touching vulnerability to her part. Jenniffer Esposito, on the other hand, is dreadful. You never believe her for a second and are always too aware that you're watching an actress play a part--and a not very good actress at that based on this movie and Backflash.
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Is there a plot?
Groovespeed22 February 2004
This film has absolutely no direction. I was a little skeptical of the concept but saw that it could actually work. But the story and dialogue just got lost and the film got muddled into the second act and fell apart from there. Any comedic or dramatic elements of the film got in the way of each other.
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I want my time back.
musicislife7715 April 2004
Ok, I just want to say, if Gaston wanted a Russian accent, why didn't she get a Russian person? I mean, I know that it's ok sometimes to change for a role, but Denisof's accent sucked. I am normally a fan of both him, and Alyson Hannigan, but please! The movie was a waste of time. I watched it twice, just to reassure myself that it really was crap and I didn't look over some hidden meaning in every scene.

I know that the same POV the entire movie gets boring, but how many times did the editor's have to change it? None of the scenes make much sense, either. I literally didn't get the point of half of them, unless they were there just to confuse the audience. I just hope that when I start directing, my movies won't get as many horrible reviews as this one did.
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Not very good, but not very bad
JohnnyAfropuff27 November 2002
To tell the truth, I have mixed feelings about Beyond the City Limits. It had its high and low points, its strong and weak moments. It isn't the best indie film, but it also isn't the worst.

Beyond the City Limits is about two Russian men, Sergei (Brian McCardie) and Yuri (Alexis Denisof), who try to pull off a casino heist with two crooked cops. Unfortunately, the two cops are killed in a shoot-out in a bar. The men need to find replacements soon.

The other part of this film revolves around three women: Lexi (Alyson Hannigan), Helena (Jennifer Esposito), and Misha (Natassja Kinski). Lexi was dating Sergei before being thrown out of his apartment and their heist. Her friend, Misha, tags along. With the help of Helena, who recently moved out on her husband (Todd Field), and another man (Steve Harris), they try to pull off the heist themselves.

The main reason I bought Beyond the City Limits in the first place was to see Alyson Hannigan and especially Alexis Denisof in very different roles than those they play on TV. I was surprised at some of the things they did in this film (Lexi shoots heroin, Yuri gets oral sex in an alley). They were the films main high points.

If you like indie films, you might like this one. If you're a fan of either Alyson Hannigan or Alexis Denisof, you will love this film. The ending seemed kind of... fake. I don't know what it is, but I saw it coming. Otherwise, this is a decent film that deserves some sort of audience.
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Great movie if you know what (not) to expect
rooprect21 March 2010
1. This is not an action flick.

2. This is not a crime thriller.

If you can swallow those up front, I think you might enjoy the film. As best as I can put it, this story is a character study of three loser women and the loser men they hang out with in LA. The three women, realizing that their lives are nothing but sound & fury, band together to change things, although they're not quite sure how. As the story progresses, so does their desperation and ultimately their resolve to pull off a crazy heist which they hope will get them beyond the city limits and free of their loser lifestyles forever.

Although the story is interesting, make no mistake, the principal focus is on the characters. Most of the film focuses on the 3 friends and their funny, sad & angry moments, building a tone of quiet frustration which comes to a climax in the last 20 minutes when they decide to go through with the crazy heist. But the first 70 minutes of the film is more like "Stand By Me", the adult female version. I think if you view the film that way, you'll really love it.

The acting of these 3 main characters is fantastic. There's not a lot of fireworks and histrionics, but instead you get a good, solid, realistic portrayal of real people. Natassja Kinski shines as the free spirit who, for some reason, can never get free of circumstances. Jennifer Esposito is equally convincing as a feisty woman whose life is winding down way too soon. And Alison Hannigan gives a great performance as the kid whose life has imploded before she can even get off the ground. I give another round of applause to Sophie B. Hawkins who shows that she can act as well as sing (not to mention wear a vinyl cat suit better than anyone I've ever seen. homina homina, "damn I wish she was my lover").

By the way, don't kill yourself looking for a widescreen version; I believe this was filmed in 4:3 which was annoying to me at first, but as the film progressed, I realized how well director Gigi Gaston made artistic use of the full screen format to convey a feeling of both claustrophobia and tightness between the 3 friends. I'd like to think it was planned that way (but if not, heck, someone did a great job of pan & scan). Gigi Gaston did a great job with this.

There are some great comedic moments if you're into dark comedy. Some of the situations are so bizarre they're hilarious. And I really think the dog "Woody" deserves an Oscar nom.
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Rat Pack's Rats
tedg20 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Yes, this movie is a disaster. Yes, it has clumsy cinematography and direction. It has uninspired acting from the women who are at the center of things.

So do most movies. What this lacks is a success where it takes its big risk, and that big risk is worth noting.

A game these days for writers is to play with shifting narrative. You can do the time folding thing, or folding the narrator (by shifting among different perspectives), or folding the story (by having several parallel threads) or folding the genre (for instance comedy into horror, here "women's film into con game). You can additionally, if you are very clever (as in "Donnie Darko" and "Ghost World" and even "Boondock Saints") fold irony.

These guys try all of them. No genre is more flexible for this sort of thing than the con movie, unless it is a mockumentary about performance. And they follow in the footsteps of "Bound," which works some of this territory successfully.

They fail, I think, because the director just doesn't have the vocabulary to manipulate and fold that space between the story and our mind. But they get extra credit in my mind for trying to go beyond "Go."

Along the way, we get the rule of doubling: two of everything, and reflections of every relationship and event. That's why you have the shifting POVs, the dual lesbian stuff, the two pairs of thugs, the "extra" girl (Sophie) and the apparently useless heroin segment.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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I've seen better film on pudding!
suspect_51 May 2003
Beyond the City Limits or Rip-It-Off, more like just rip-off, is supposedly a heist movie featuring surprising backstabing. However the only backstabbing I detected must have been done to the writer, because they were unable to finish the script. There is time spent on character development but it is wasted. No back-story is revealed, we have no idea how the characters know each other, and minus one character you (I anyway) have no desire to know them. The acting is akin to that you would perhaps see in your child or siblings kindergarten play. Minus the performance of Alyson Hannigan who plays a smack junkie who can't kick the habit giving her character a least a reason for empathy. I see that the guidelines for posting a review say no spoilers but with this plot (if you call it that) it is next to impossible. Consider this a P.S.A. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!!!!
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Finally I have seen it
alyson_fan13 May 2002
I finally saw Beyond the city limits after a long search it has been released here in the Netherlands in the video rental. Not the best movie I have ever seen, it was certainly not the best performance the actors ever did, except for Jennifer and the lovely Alyson who are the real stars of the movie these two make the movie worth looking. Beyond the city limits will be released for sale in the Netherlands on 21st of may.
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not a bad film, but Alyson Hannigan's the most worthwhile part
reeskm30 March 2002
I am one of the few outside of the Philippines who actually owns a copy of Beyond the City Limits. It's too bad this movie hasn't been released more widely, since it's not a bad movie. It's sort of a low budget clone of oceans 11, but with female lead characters.

There's nothing really unexpected or exciting about the film, the acting is above average, the editing/directing is slightly below average, and the plotline/script are average. It's worth watching, if only to see the gorgeous Alyson Hannigan. It's also pretty funny watching Alexis Denisof talk in a Russian accent. Quite different from his role as Wesley the Watcher in Buffy/Angel.

If you get a chance to see this movie, I say go for it, especially if you're a fan of Alyson Hannigan.
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Do not watch this movie
Jason Arnold3 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the worst movies ever. I saw it with my father-in-law because it was a HEIST movie. The very first shot was a woman having naked sweaty sex with a cop. It just got worst from there. I had already seen Alyson H. addicted to magic on "Buffy". I didn't need to see her do the same acting job again by seeing her addicted to heroin. Plus her change in affect from beating off the casino guards to crying at the blonde ladies death was seriously wrong. Add into the movie that it didn't know what it was and went into more subplots than "Spice World" (the best known example of too many unnecessary plot points). STAY AWAY. Unless you want to see Wesley be a Russian thug.
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"Rip It Off" is aptly named....
loremipsumdolor3 August 2003
This film is an absolute mess. None of it makes sense or works; it can not decide its POV nor its tone and includes many unnecessary scenes that have nothing to do with the plot. What's that scene with the woman at the bus stop all about? Why is the 2nd security guard at the casino acting like such a hardass? Why is everyone so obsessed with sex? Why the sudden shift to the heroin story and where did this "I always wanted to own a restaurant" stuff come from? What on earth is Sophie B Hawkins doing here and why was she blackmailing the cop? WHO KNOWS?? The filmmakers obviously don't. I've seen better film on ponds.
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The worst
karchad10 May 2003
Let me say that I like B-movies, straight-to-video-movies, etc. I search for them, and most of them I enjoy very much, better than the commercial stuff put out that you pay $10 to see in a theater with cell phones ringing... This movie is a different animal. Simply stated, I turned it off after an hour of torture. It is one of the worst, most boring, most worthless videos I've ever seen. It is a bad-plot-porno movie without the porno! I am surprised to see the lovely Jennifer Esposito absolutely wasted in this abomination.
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Acceptable B-flick
SanderStrijbos18 March 2002
The story is nothing new: Three girlfriends stealing the money their boyfriends intended to steal. I see this more as a Bound meets Ocean Eleven, but done with a tiny budget.

The acting, on the other hand, is very good. Especially the three female leads and Todd Field. They keep the film going and watchable.

Beyond City Limits is an enjoyable film without many surprises and despite its many flaws it's watchable.
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Mixed Messages!!!
cameraman_mike_200022 January 2002
The confusing vibe I get from this film bothers me. Too many mixed messages, one of them being "Don't under estimate a woman!" Or something like that... Which gives the film a real feminist man hater approach... in my opinion! Many scenes that were meant to be funny and shocking came out embarrassing. Alyson Hannigan fans might find this interesting. The characters behave very strange, though it does get exciting when it desperately has to show a nude female in the opening shot!!!! Trite! Many elements puzzled me, starting with Hannigan's little number with the French woman on the bus bench. Scene's that were thought to be good scenes turned out to be nothing. Characters that you start to like and feel sorry for suddenly become the characters you are suppose to hate, and some characters disappear for great ammounts of time and suddenly re-appear. In my over all opinion, it just wasn't about anything (new) atleast... I give it *1/2 out of 4.
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A waste of talent and time.
George Parker19 August 2003
"Beyond the City Limits" is a good example of how not to make a movie. Director Gaston manages to lead her decent cast into a sort of mindless oblivion where nothing works. An uneven conglomerated mess of lousy acting, directing, editing, cinematography, music, etc., this uninspired doggie can't seem to find a genre and stick with it. If this is the only movie on t.v., just turn the box off and play solitaire. Yuck! (D)
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adonis98-743-18650318 February 2018
Three women outsmart unsavory men who try to cheat them out of their take in an almost-botched casino heist. Bad Acting, Bad Characters and poor filmmaking ruin "Beyond the City Limits" and from the first scene of the film we know what kind of movie we're getting and it's not good. (0/10)
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Which City Limits?
vitachiel3 April 2006
It's always difficult for me to find fault with this sort of film. What you see here is simply people making an effort to produce a decent movie.

The story is pretty weak, but at least you can amuse your self with some divergent subplots. The low-quality cinematography was not in the way - except for one of the earlier shots where the hand-held camera drifted me out of the film and into home video. The acting was good and some of the dialogues were very real. The scenes with Field and Esposito were amazingly well-played and Kinski was rather cool.

The film's ending was one of the worst I have ever seen.
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A bit of a "rip off"
Robert Clarke1 February 2006
Sergei and Yuri are two small time Russian crooks who are attempting to hit the big time by ripping off a casino with the aid of a security guard and a couple of bent cops.

Misha (Nastassja Kinski) and Lexi (Alison Hannigan) are their Girlfriends, two of society's misfits with no real goals in life.

After an argument between Yuri and Lexi, the girls are kicked out of their house and by chance meet Helena (Jennifer Esposito) , an old friend of Mishas who has just got divorced from (yet still lives with) her loser cop husband Jack (Todd Field).

The girls decide to try and get in on the Casino job, and get revenge on the men in their lives who have betrayed them – yet things go far from smooth, and anything but as planned.

"Rip it off" is only mildly entertaining at best and it isn't really a surprise that this confused and all in all uninteresting film sunk without trace here in the UK. The characters are either annoying or nasty and it's very hard to sympathise with anyone involved. Its watchable but really does fall quite wide of the mark.
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A tad painful to watch (Spoilers)
PurpleNiobe5 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Has anyone else seen this movie?

Does anyone else get it?

This movie came on Showtime a while ago and I only saw it because my newest crush is in it (Six Feet Under's Freddy Rodriguez). He was in like three scenes: One, he was shooting someone, two he was far off in the distance in the dark, and three he was getting shot. So I pretty much watched this movie for nothing.

I understood the basic premise of the movie, and it had potential. Three friends come to the conclusion that their lives are really going nowhere and they are more than ready for a change. So they decide (with the help of a former boyfriend I guess), to rob a casino, get on a boat, and sail away somewhere with the money and start their lives over.

My question is this: where were the two girls going on that boat? I'm no boat expert but that boat didn't look too much like anything that was going to get them too far. Lexi seemed interested in France and the French language but I doubt that's where they were going to try to go.

Also, before Lexi got onto the boat, she placed the wigs they were wearing on Her Russian boyfriend and those two other thugs. Am I suppose to believe that the cops are going to fall for that? Like they won't look back at the surveillance photo and at LEAST see that the people robbing the place didn't have beards?

I'm not expecting much of a response to this post. It will be interesting to see if anyone else actually watched this movie and what they thought of it.
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Don't Watch This Movie!!!
I've watched some doozies in my time,but this movie takes the cake!

The acting over all was horrible!(Alison H.was the only bright spot in the film just barely)`

The plot is as thin as toilet paper.

I tried to watch this movie twice: The first time I fell asleep after the first 15 minutes or so I think(my brain was trying to protect me,but did I listen? No) The very next day I tried again and now I'm convinced that I could survive chinese water torture while laying on a bed of nails.

Don't make my mistake. Don't rent this movie. Don't watch this movie!!!!
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Trash, pure trash.
JR12 April 2003
Warning: Spoilers
CONTAINS SPOILERS Women have been complaining about being treated unfairly in life, in work, in general yada yada yada. BUT then when they are given the chance to shine, it seems they play down to the stereotypes and hide behind their own ignorance. This movie had more than enough chances to be a big hit within itself, even a cult classic. It had to begin with an silicone implanted hooker to get ANY rise, hoping to hook the male viewer, because God knows, thats the ONLY way to get him. The chances for comedy were completely run down like a bad lawyer or politician. Then, trying to gain some better ground it throw in lesbianism. I don't think the writer or director could have killed this film anymore than what they've done. The characters you are suppose to care about are the villains in the next scene (the females), and then wonder why they are kicked to the curb and thrown out when they bite the hand that feeds them. I want, NO, I DEMAND BACK THE HOUR AND A HALF OF MY LIFE I LOST ON THIS FILM. The only justice the film has IS (spoilers) that most of the complete idiots of the film DIE within the last minutes. Kinski's character should have had a more painful death and her two accomplices should have died with her. Terrible, terrible film. Completely misleading and has no true point with a plot shadier than a mortuary with a restaurant on the back end claiming to have the freshest meat in town. Watch and decide, but don't expect anything special. I didn't have that many problems with lesbians till this film.
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ONly one good thing
Sarahzed2 February 2003
Not the best movie ever made actually The only thing thats good about it is Alyson Hannigan.The movie is dark and a bit univentfull untill the end.Buffy fans might be shocked to Hear Alyson swearing.The movie isnt made any better by Alexis's Russian accent.
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One redeeming value
wolfgar119 November 2002
As far as I'm concerned, this movie has one good thing about it, and that is, of course, Alyson Hannigan. Her performance was great. I think she should consider doing more different style roles than the her typical Willow/Michelle roles. The rest of the movie, however, is pretty bland. It progresses rather slowly. The editing wasn't properly done, there were parts of the movie where the sound didn't sync with the video. The plot is nothing new. The acting was good at some parts and really bad at others. And alot of the time it was difficult to see where the movie was going, at least until the heist at the end.

Bottom line, worth at least one viewing for Alyson fans to see her as something other than Willow or Michelle, but otherwise you might be happier with something else.
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Beyond the what...?
ttsymes1 November 2002
This is beyond the limits -- not the city ones, but rather those of a viewer's patience. Yeah, I know, this was low budget and we all want to see it because of Miss Hannigan (why Miss H. though?)... but... I watched the tape for about ten minutes and then went for lunch. Later, I was persuaded by company to watch the rest of the movie. I returned it to the rental place with a note asking them to put a warning label on the jacket (won't quote here what I said the label should read...)
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