The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

The Bridge on the River Kwai won seven Oscars, including Best Picture, in 1958. Now we’ve come a long way since those days in terms of storytelling and filmmaking, and I always dread watching older movies because I can’t sit through slow pacing and little to no special effects. This film has been on my watch list for years, and since I finally bought a copy of Pierre Boulle’s novel Planet of the Apes, I thought it was time to dig deeper into his mind and see the other masterpiece he provided us with.

At the end of this 2:45 long movie, I felt conflicted, conflicted in the sense that this movie sucked but is loved by the masses and the Academy. The ending was the only saving grace for me because everything leading up to it dragged on forever. The story moved at a snail’s pace and was really only driven by dialogue. I didn’t expect an epic World War II action movie like Saving Private Ryan, but I still expected something. A push back of the British held captive, or angry Japanese over the fact the project always seems behind schedule. The story flowed, and all the pieces came together for a very climactic ending, but that was the only highlight for me.

The Bridge served many purposes; it showed that nothing could break the spirit of the captured British soldiers while showcasing the Japanese high command’s power and might. The Americans in the film did their usual “cowboy” stuff, which played a major factor in the finale, yet they were never the movie’s focal point. For someone who grew up in North America, the historical significance of WWII is always about the American military’s impact and suffering. It was refreshing to see other stories about the war and the sacrifices other soldiers went through. Overall though, I was thrilled to cross this movie off my list and wouldn’t give it my undivided attention again should I ever find myself watching it. I can respect what it set out to achieve and did; just this movie wasn’t for me. 4/10

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