Review: Bride Flight – Bridal Flight (2008)

Bride Flight – Bridal Flight (2008)

Directed by: Ben Sombogaart | 130 minutes | drama, romance | Actors: Karina Smulders, Anna Drijver, Elise Schaap, Waldemar Torenstra, Willeke van Ammelrooy, Petra Laseur, Pleuni Touw, Rutger Hauer Marc Klein Essink, Rawiri Paratene, Mischa Hulshof, Mattijn Hartemink, Walter Bart

‘Bride Flight’ starts with the present. Right in the opening scene of ‘Bride Flight’, Rutger Hauer makes his appearance as the old adventurer Frank. You can see him driving in a blood-red jeep over an estate dominated by vines. Frank apparently went well… or not? Hauer’s presence in the film is minimal. Despite this, the actor leaves quite an impression. Hauer’s facial expressions are still of great class; which comes into its own in the scenes where Frank does not conduct any dialogue.

But the real stars of ‘Bride Flight’ are Waldemar Torenstra and Karina Smulders. Before there is any physical contact between Frank and Ada, the sparks are already flying. For example, as Frank, Torenstra clearly conveys the passion for Ada with his eyes when he sits next to her on the plane. Smulders knows how to play Ada’s shyness and inner doubt very naturally. The scene in which Ada storms out of the plane in a wedding dress and Frank runs after her may sound theatrical on paper, but it is filmically moving.

But except Torenstra and Smulders, the rest of the cast is also perfectly fine. Elise Schaap, who makes her feature film debut as the young Marjorie, portrays her character amusingly. Even though the character is quite serious, Schaap gives good sarcastic intonations to Marjorie’s comments. For example, when she discovers the thick white cloud layer hanging over New Zealand on the plane and expresses her indignation about it: “I thought the weather was always nice in New Zealand.” The handsome and eccentric Esther is portrayed with verve by Anna Drijver. She may have been able to draw on her past as a model, as Esther has a soft spot for fashion and dresses in striking dresses.

It is commendable how director Ben Sombogaart has managed to connect the young and old cast. It is true that Sombogaart called the casting a difficult process, but this clearly paid off. You can easily recognize the main characters at an older age. In terms of play, the skilled Pleuni Touw (Ada), Willeke van Ammelrooy (Esther), Petra Laseur (Marjorie) and Rutger Hauer (Frank) fit right in with their younger colleagues.

The natural beauty in ‘Bride Flight’ is abundantly present, but in no way overshadows the story. The playing time of ‘Bride Flight’ is considerable, but you ‘fly’ through those 130 minutes thanks to Marieke van der Pol’s scenario. The catchy dialogues give you a lump in your throat at times. But above all ‘Bride Flight’ contains a pleasant mixture of drama, love and humor. The film is like a well-oiled machine; never a moment of boredom. ‘Bride Flight’ has all the potential to qualify for an Oscar nomination for ‘Best Foreign Film’.

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