The Bridge on the River Kwai

Review: The Bridge on the River Kwai

30 Apr 12

David Lean: The Undisputed King of the Epic

While this movie is largely a work of fiction, David Lean's World War II epic is a grandiose spectacle. It is arguably Lean's most complicated work, amplifying its compelling narrative.

The concept of war is not examined as such but rather the internal influences and unpredictable forces which ultimately lead to conflict. Lean carefully provokes subtle jibes towards the British class system, where core values such as honour are rendered seemingly as a punchline. However this never diminishes the war narrative. In fact, it enhances the emotional and psychological nuances which are effectively filtered through the characters when they are ultimately at the coal face of war.

With an outstanding cast William Holden, Jack Hawkins, Alec Guinness and Sessue Hayakawa, Lean delivers perhaps his most ambitious work. The backdrop of political discourse allows Lean to provide not just are war film with a spectacular battle sequences, but essentially a character study of man and ultimate willpower.