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The Bridge on the River Kwai (DVD)

The Bridge on the River Kwai was required viewing for a class I'm taking.  I had a choice between reading the book of the same title by Pierre Boulle or viewing the movie adaptation.  I chose to watch the movie which is about 40 minutes too long.

Set during World War II in a prison camp in Asia, Col. Nicholson butts heads with Col. Saito, the commandant of the prisoner of war camp that Nicholson and his men have the misfortune of landing in.  When Nicholson refuses to allow himself or his fellow officers to perform hard labor in the camp (the Geneva Conventions forbid it!), Saito throws Nicholson in the oven fully expecting him to capitulate within a few hours.  However, Saito sorely underestimates Nicholson's hardheadedness because the stalemate between the men lasts weeks (possibly months; it's hard to tell, but I know it lasts an hour in the movie) while Nicholson and his men bake in a dark hole.

When the two men finally reach an agreement that gets Nicholson and his men out of the ovens, Nicholson takes over the bridge construction that has thus far been a disaster for Saito because no progress has been made, and if he doesn't get that thing built, he will be forced to commit suicide for the shame of failure.  Nicholson's motivation in aiding the enemy's objectives is to raise his troops' morale and to leave behind a monument to British fortitude and engineering prowess; however, this is at odds with the Allied forces' greater mission of defeating the Axis powers.

Unbeknownst to Saito and Nicholson, an Allied special forces team assisted by an escaped POW who had been presumed dead is trekking through the jungle to the camp on a mission: blow up that bridge that Saito and Nicholson are determined to build.  Unfortunately this mission has an unpromising beginning when the team loses a man in the parachute jump into enemy territory, which bodes as an ill omen for the success of the mission.  What happens when Saito, Nicholson, and Warden's special forces team collide?

My thoughts:

The battle of wills between Saito and Nicholson gets old real fast.

I think all that heat may have had an ill effect on Nicholson's judgement because dude is building a bridge FOR THE ENEMY.

The jungle heat and/or blood loss (or both) must have affected Warden's judgement because shooting your teammates in the back so they 'don't fall into enemy hands' BEFORE THEY HAVE A CHANCE TO DETONATE THE EXPLOSIVES to take down the bridge makes their entire mission pointless.

That the bridge ends up accidentally blown to smithereens is small consolation because Warden's entire team (save him) are all dead.  At least Saito and Nicholson are swimming with the fishes too.

I don't like it.  I don't like it at all.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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