Friday, September 9, 2011

Bride Flight (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Bride Flight

 "Bride Flight", the latest film by Ben Sombogaart who made a splash with his Holocaust drama "Twin Sisters" (2003) is pure melodrama. But strangely enough, all the pieces in this tearful timezone tangle work very well together. The simple verve in the performances alone will give your heart the vision it needs and keep you watching.

The plot is inspired by the true story of the Last Great Air Race from London to New Zealand in 1953. Many Dutch were brought over and many of them were wives to be, ready (and sometimes not so ready) to meet their fianc├ęs.

We first see Rutger Hauer as an old man who runs a vineyard. He is wrinkled and craggy. Cut to the next scene forty years earlier and he is the blonde and dashing Frank (Waldemar Torenstra) who is devil- may-care with movie-star looks. Ada (Karina Smulders) is about to marry Derk (Micha Hulschof) he is uptight, boring and distracted. Ada and Derk buy an old bunker. It is almost black inside, believe it or not, and you just know the marriage wont work. Then there is Esther (Anna Drijver), independent and sensual, not to be tied down by the confines of  Orthodox religion. She has bright red nails. Lastly , there's Marjorie (Elise Shaap) who is a goody two shoes. All three women are in love with Frank, who is rugged and touched by the sun.

The events are familiar to any soap opera viewer, but the events unfold in such a moderate and dispassionate way that we don't mind the Sturm and Drang such as Marjorie's son lost in a cave of hot springs or Ada in a loveless marriage. And who could argue with the sight of Frank and Ada as they attack each other in tactile passion, going at it on the table? Not since "Body Heat"  or "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1981) have I seen such visceral lust. The two lovers become almost avian in their sensual locomotion. The film takes time to establish real amorous chemistry and you will root for them.

The film has a retro appeal similar to Tv's "Mad Men" and this makes the cinematography fresh, nostalgic and easy on the eyes. One look at the silver gray KLM airplane is as alluring as any superhero or platinum bombshell from the 1950's. This, coupled with the sight of the stern, formidable presence of Hauer---his dusty cowboy face a wedge of slate against the deep green peaks of New Zealand---make this film an existential bodice ripper and one that charms with its honesty in dramatic expression.

Write Ian at

No comments: