"It's complete," grizzled, wistful Frank (Rutger Hauer) says in the opening scene of Bride Flight, right before he croaks among the well-groomed rows of his New Zealand vineyard. "I'm a happy farmer." With that, the reunion of three women whose lives (and more) he touched is set into motion, along with flashbacks to the quartet's youth. Director Ben Sombogaart was inspired by the story of a Flying Dutchman adventure: Frank (played as a young man by Waldemar Torenstra), Esther (Anna Drijver), Marjorie (Elise Schaap), and Ada (Karina Smulders) are strangers when they sign on as passengers in a 1953 air race from London to Christchurch. Eager to escape post–World War II Holland, the women have men waiting down under; Frank, who lost his family, is on his own. Determined to break the air-speed record for star-crossed love, Frank and the barely married, pregnant Ada go gaga somewhere over Karachi and spend the rest of their lives a-pining. The flashbacks dominate, playing like wet-inked storyboards: pioneer women forced into patriarch games; a baby born in secrecy and raised in deceit; Jewish legacy lost and found. When the men are all dead, the women speak freely, wrapping up two florid hours with a pickled sentence or two.
One of the flying brides.
Opens at Metro, Fri., June 24. Rated R. 130 minutes.