DVD Review: Broken Bridges
By Patrick Luce Jan 8, 2007, 1:28 GMT
Broken Bridge’s music also gives you a reason to watch, and almost becomes a character of the film.
Although Broken Bridges feels more like a made for television special than a big screen film, the movie does manage to keep you entertained, and features a better than expected performance from its main star - Toby Keith. I was expecting to hate every minute of the film, but found myself enjoying the simple feel good story, and subtle performances from its stars.
Broken Bridges (which was seen as a vehicle to launch Keith from music to film) was directed by Steven Goldmann (who was the director of Our Country and a few other music-themed projects), and was written by Jeff Gottesfeld and Cherie Bennett (both moving from television writing to film). Along with Keith’s motion picture debut, the film features Kelly Preston, Tess Harper, Anna Maria Horsford, Burt Reynolds, and Lindsey Haun (who delivers a breakout performance and really shines in the movie). There are also brief appearances from country music icon Willie Nelson and singer and BeBe Winans.
The film’s plot is very familiar and borderline cliché. Following the death of family members (two brothers), country music star Bo Price (Keith) and television reporter Angela Dalton (Preston) return to their sleepy hometown for the funerals. The two were childhood sweethearts, but the relationship ended when Bo skipped town after discovering Angela was pregnant. Following a clash with her father (on the same night Bo skipped out on her), Angela also left town and made a career for herself while raising her now sixteen year old daughter Dixie Leigh (Haun).
Dixie (who knows her father’s identity but has never seen him) has dreams of being a rock star, but finds her big break in jeopardy following the deaths of her uncles – which forces her to join her mother on a trip to Angela’s hometown. We quickly see that Dixie is a bit of a bad girl – which also telegraphs that the movie will focus on her transformation to a loving daughter by the end.
Once home, Bo, Dixie Leigh, and Angela paths quickly cross opening up old heartache for the two former sweethearts, and new emotions for a father and the daughter he has never seen. Along with this, Angela must deal with her damaged relationship with her own father (Reynolds), and Bo must figure out a way to regain his love for music in time to save his faltering career.
As I said, the film’s plot is very familiar and extremely predictable. We know that Bo is going to figure out his own problems by the end. We can also pretty much assume that before the credits roll he will likely work out his relationships with Angela and Dixie. With that said, the movie is still able to capture you attention and keep you interested in the characters and plot from start to finish.
Keith does a good job in the movie, and shows moments of decent acting. He isn’t playing a character too far from his own background, but still manages to create something quasi new in Bo. At times in the film, you see more of Keith’s musical persona than a fictional character he developed for the screen. He also spends a great amount of time being depressed and looking bored, but this does fit the character he is supposed to be playing.
Preston’s performance seems to run the whole movie on autopilot, and it is clear she knows how to play this type of character. The role is never much of a stretch for the talented actress, and her performance does help carry some of Keith’s rockier performances. Haun does a very good job in the film, and provides some of the movies best dramatic moments. Her dialogues with Keith (such as when the two write a song together) are some of the best parts of the movie, and really help bring emotion to the story.
Broken Bridge’s music (which was written by Keith) also gives you a reason to watch, and almost becomes a character of the film. Keith fans will want to watch the movie for the soundtrack, and the songs do help set the tone and mood for a lot of the film’s heavier dramatic moments.
The biggest problem with the movie is how familiar its plot is, and how many times this type of story has been told. We have seen the depressed musician many times before – such as in films like Pure Country and Falling From Grace. We have also seen movies dealing with broken family relationships forced to come back together. This familiarity doesn’t ruin Broken Bridges, but might turn off some viewers before they give it a chance. At the same time, fans of this kind of drama will love the movie, and find plenty to enjoy in the sometimes syrupy performances of its cast.
The DVD does come with some decent special features including a look at the actors and discussion about their characters, a Toby Keith Ford Truck commercial (which is extremely funny), a look at the making of film – including how they shot the “muddin’” scene.
Broken Bridges is an entertaining movie, and does feature some good performances from its cast. It has more than enough to please Keith fans. The singer shows he does have the chops for acting. It was a better movie than I thought it would be, and I would recommend taking the chance on it if you are a fan of family drama.