DVD Review: The Bridge [M15+]

Dir: Wolfgang Panzer
Cast: Francois Goeske, Franka Potente, Lars Steinhofel

The Film
Set in Germany during the tail end of WWII, The Bridge takes place in a small rural town where a group of school boys are drafted into the Hitler youth and assigned the task of defending the bridge into town from the incoming US troops. Even though they are left by all their commanding officers, ordered to leave and begged by their loved ones to leave, they stubborning stay without any training or weapons to try and defend the bridge, for some reason.

Some movies can be a bit shoddy but make up for it in other ways, such as having a memorable cast, great cinematography or an interesting premise that is never fully explored. The Bridge has none of these redeeming features. Every aspect of it is terrible.

Making a television movie of an Oscar nominated war drama is a pretty stupid idea unless you have a cast and budget to back it up, and this film doesn’t. The cinematography is bland, with only film school quality work in the better moments and the cast are woeful, hammy actors who take the meodrama and botch it up with over-acting and laughable grimaces. At first I wanted to assume that I was being swayed by the terrible dubbing, so I looked past that to find that this was not the case, the acting is downright bad.

Production wise, there are some brave moves. It takes a very confident director to take WWII props that are clearly made out of plastic and try and pass them off as the real thing. Corners are cut at every oppotunity, a real stand out is a critical scene in which a young hero takes out a tank. We see the honly hero shoot from the window only to hear the impact off-screen before cutting to a tank with a fire on its side.

The only possible reason for renting this movie is by getting some friends around for a few drinks to laugh at the mess, ‘Kick-Puncher’ style. Some the dubbing is so atrociously bad that it makes for great comedy. A Nazi officer barking “your erotic escapades are your own business and I have no time for them here!” in a brisk cheerful tone feels like something straight out of a ‘Naked Gun’ movie. The highlight, however, comes with the death of one hero. “I’m so hot…why is it so hot…I’m freezing! Is the water cold? Do you have a rug?” stated in such a flat voice one can’t help but laugh.

The Australian DVD
The copy I reviewed is a screener, so there are no extra features.


Details here.

Thanks to Bill at Gryphon Entertainment for the copy.

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