Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Bride Flight

Bride Flight
Waldemar Torenstra, Elise Schaap, Anna Drijver and Rutger Hauer

Rated: R 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: June 10, 2011 Released by: ITD

A lushly mounted, sweeping adult melodrama is a higher-budgeted Dutch import that is very watchable, but not as rich when it comes to overall character and narrative clarity.
Still, Bride Flight (in Dutch and English with subtitles) has a way about it to ingratiate (period-preferring) audiences, some of whom have flocked to a raunchy click-flick like Bridesmaids. One that also may be the best from its native land since Paul Verhoven's Black Book which effectively enveloped art-house patrons of how a singer helped the Dutch Resistance in Nazi-occupied WWII.
Director Ben Sombogaart uses a 1953 competing flight in the London-Christchurch air race as the impetus for an unchronological soap-opera as three Dutch women about to get married are about to be affected by the handsome Frank (Waldemar Torenstra, a Holland heartthrob whose ears seem to add to his presence).
En route to New Zealand for their prospective spouses affected by World War II, down-to-earth Marjorie (Elise Schaap), vivacious fashionista Esther (Anna Drijver), and meek, insular and pregnant Ada (Karina Smulders) have to contend with the joylessness of their situations. One has to deal with the ramifications of her domineering personality, while an arranged marriage and despondency from familial inhibitions helps to fill in a globetrotting, truncated text. Each of the actresses are able to carve out decent portraits, individually, and opposite the appealing Torenstra.
So, it turns out that the farmer in Frank (played in the present by Rutger Hauer in his first Dutch film close to his Blade Runner days) will be an uncle and connected to these insecure women learning the hard way about life and love from the interrelationships after settling down under for a while. Bride Flight is bookended by Ada, Esther and Marjorie attending a funeral some half a century later. Yet, what happens in between, whether at an airport, under the covers, or clandestinely helps something a bit overstuffed, yet lavish in its costuming and epoch design find its desired emotional center.

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