Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Today's film is The Bridge on the River Kwai, which focuses on a Japanese prison camp during WWII.  A huge troop of British soldiers and officers have been captured, and the director of the camp forces them to build a bridge for the Japanese army.  There's also an American who has been there for some time, but more on him later.

The main officer, Col. Nicholson, plays only by the rules and claims he and the other officers shouldn't be doing manual labor like working on a bridge.  The director, Saito, doesn't care about no stupid Geneva convention and wants as many people as possible working.  This becomes a battle of stubbornness between the two, and we know how stubborn men can be.  Eventually, Nicholson wins and the British set out to build a really good bridge.

Now this bridge becomes a source of British pride for Col Nicholson and he gets really hardcore about it.  He refuses to sabotage any of it, and makes his soldiers build it the best they can, so years later when the war is over, they can all be remembered for this super fantastic bridge of awesome.  That's in the middle of nowhere in a jungle.  They even erect a fancy plaque to commemorate the bridge. Really.

Remember the American dude from the beginning?  Well he escapes and with the help of local villagers, makes a miraculous recovery.  The navy wants him to go back and lead them on a dangerous mission through the jungle - to blow up the bridge on the River Kwai.  He really doesn't want to.  He spent a long time in the awful prison camp, suffered, and saw many people die.  He is starting to get over what he went through and they are forcing him to go back.  He agrees to go with them.  It takes a while but they do make it to the bridge.

They set up the charges to blow up the bridge, but of course Col Nicholson spots them and runs down to investigate.  He really gets in their way of blowing up the bridge, and causes the death of the soldiers responsible for blowing it up.  The soldiers tell him what the mission is about and he realizes he let his personal pride ruin what they were doing.  He falls on the plunger himself and blow up the bridge.  Now when he is hit he lands over there <----  and then falls on the plunger which is over here ------>.   Well that is remarkably convenient.  Overall it was a very enjoyable film.  I will give it a 9/10.

1 comment:

  1. I reviewed this one a few weeks ago and I think I was a little more excited about than you are. Though 9 out of 10 is not a bad score.
    I think Nicholson's fall in the end is to underline the randomness and madness of war. All that wasted effort, all that loss of human life. In that sense I think his fall works nicely.
    Shears' recovery is quite remarkable, isn't it?