The Bridge on the River Kwai

Title: The Bridge on the River Kwai
Year: 1957
Length: 161 minutes
Director: David Lean
Writer: Michael Wilson & Carl Foreman, based on the novel by Pierre Boulle
Starring: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa
Music: Malcolm Arnold
Distinctions: Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (Guinness), Best Cinematography, Best Score and Best Editing; Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor (Hayakawa); currently #69 on IMDb’s Top 250

My reaction
Synopsis: British POW’s build a bridge for the Japanese while an American escapes
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), yesterday
Concept: Great. There’s more to it than my synopsis, but I don’t want to be spoilery.
Story: Great.
Characters: Great.
Dialog: Great.
Pacing: Great. It’s almost three hours, and it takes a lot of time to breathe and stretch, but it never feels slow. Kind of perfect.
Cinematography: Indifferent.
Special effects/design: Great.
Acting: Great.  Holden’s performance is a bit disappointing, but still good.  Guinness and Hayakawa are great.
Music: Good.
Subjective Rating: 8/10 (Great). It’s a reluctant 8/10; there are a handful of important moments scattered throughout the movie that don’t play as well as they should. But it’s an unique and exceptionally strong story, and really stands out among all the tedious and recycled Epic Movies of the time. In fact, it’s the only movie of its type from this era that I’ve liked at all so far.
Objective Rating: 3.7/4 (Great).


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