Review: Bride Flight DVD

STUDIO: Music Box | DIRECTOR: Ben Sombogaart | CAST: Karina Smulders, Elise Schaap, Anna Drijver, Waldemar Torenstra, Rutger Hauer
RELEASE DATE: 9/20/2011 | PRICE: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $38.94
BONUSES: featurette, interviews
SPECS: NR | 130 min. | Romantic drama | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS Surround Sound | Dutch with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

Bride Flight movie scene

Anna Drijver connects with Waldemar Torenstra in Bride Flight.

With sweeping New Zealand vistas and soap opera intrigue, Bride Flight is a romantic melodrama a la 1950s Hollywood. (Is the ghost of Douglas Sirk hovering nearby?) The prestige of the film, the most expensive in Dutch history, even occasioned the return of international star Rutger Hauer (Hobo With a Shotgun) to his native country after many years abroad for a small but pivotal cameo.

The movie is set after World War II, when many young Dutch left the ravaged Europe for the promise of a fresh start in New Zealand. Bride Flight tells the story of three such women. Scarred by the war, they become friends on the long plane trip to reunite with husbands who have gone ahead.

Ada (Karina Smulders) is a naïve farm girl, Marjorie (Elise Schaap) wants children and Esther (Anna Drijver) is a Jewish fashion designer whose family was slaughtered by the Nazis. Also on board is Frank (Waldemar Torenstra), a charismatic young man with scars of his own. His life will intersect with all three women: one will bear his child; another will raise the child as her own and the third will be the star-crossed love of his life.

Bride Flight is an old school “woman’s picture” and definitely not a “chick flick.” The women in this film embrace the challenges of love, marriage, motherhood and business, compounded by the fallout from a world recently gone insane. They are not whining, narcissists talking about their feelings, getting their grooves back or offering advice on sexual techniques.

The gorgeously photographed New Zealand landscapes give the movie an epic feel, while the acting is uniformly excellent, especially Waldermar Torenstra as the wounded yet dashing hero and Anna Drijver as the Jewish businesswoman with cigarette ubiquitously in hand.

Get out the Kleenex, pop the kernels and have fun picking a 1950s fantasy cast for this story. Here’s mine: Kirk Douglas (Frank), Ruth Roman (Esther), Eleanor Parker (Marjorie) and, in a dramatic turn “as you’ve never seen her,” Jane Powell (Ada).

The bonus features on the DVD were not included on our press screener. But the list includes  a making-of featurette and interviews with Hauer and screenwriter Marieke van der Pol.

 

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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.