TEN BEST MOVIE SERIES
This scream from William Holden's slacker character near the end of "Bridge" emphasizes war's contradiction; contradiction after contradiction after contradiction; the building of "a proper bridge" by British p.o.w.'s only the most obvious.
This may be the best example of movie-as-experience. The moviegoer is WITH Holden as he escapes through the jungle, WITH the commandos amid the gurgling water as they plant charges the evening before demolition, while prisoner Alec Guinness and Japanese commandant Sessue Hayakawa stroll on the just-completed bridge. Destruction and accomplishment are counterpoints.
The clash of mentalities and wills is everyplace: Guinness's stubborn Colonel Nicholson and Hayakawa's authoritarian officer at the outset; later, the Jack Hawkins and William Holden characters on the commando team. Holden has few lines but imbues them with eternal meaning, as the team cuts inexorably through the jungle, returning, madly, to the "madness" he'd already left.
With this flick, unlike even David Lean's equally great "Lawrence," there are no editing flourishes; no tricks. The adventure is seamless-- you lose yourself entirely within the story and setting.
The madness of war is the theme-- wonderfully highlighted by scenes of peace; the commandos bathing in a stream with pretty Burmese girls a few moments before that stream is stained by blood. Everything: tragedy.
Literate, intelligent, suspenseful, terrifically acted and beautifully photographed, this superb work of art has to rank near the top of any "Best Movie" list.