Saturday, June 17, 2006

"Jolly good show!"

I've just watched "The Bridge on the River Kwai", circa 1957. A WWII story that captured a lot of things to think about: leadership, principles and loyalty. Great characters and great acting.

(Spoiler Alert!)

A controversial issue is raised when the commander of the POWs decided to use the forced labor project to rally his men's morale and discipline. With the officers' experience and direction, the men were doing a really good job, and the medical officer questioned him, the colonel,

The fact is, what we're doing could be construed as, forgive me sir, collaboration with the enemy. Perhaps even as treasonable activity...Must we work so well. Must we build them a better bridge than they could have built for themselves?"

(Oh, I could identify so well with this question, in my present working arrangement!) But the colonel reasoned that accomplishing this building would show the Japanese of the superiority of the British soldiers' engineering skills, teamwork and discipline, even in defeat.

One day the war will be over. And I hope that the people that use this bridge in years to come will remember how it was built and who built it. Not a gang of slaves, but soldiers, British soldiers, Clipton, even in captivity.

The movie builds up its momentum as there was another team of guerrilla commandos, amongst whom there was a reluctant American escapee from that same labor camp, sent to destroy the bridge, an important part of the railway that they feared, might help extend the Japanese control from Singapore all the way to India.

It climaxed when the colonel discovered the now-completed bridge has been rigged with explosive. Somehow stirred by his love of the bridge, the colonel alerted his Japanese captor (at this point, more of a counterpart really) at the last moment when the train was due to cross (and the bridge to be blown up), and caused two of the British commandos' death, before he realized what he had to decide between his beloved bridge and his nation's interests.

Oh well, I'm a sucker for action movies, and this magnificent film is one of the best so far!

1 comment:

Bravo said...


Has been ages since I last saw this good movie.

Interestingly I too love to watch action movies. Maybe we can rent some and watch together.