Bridge on the River Kwai is another one of those classic movies that is classic for inexplicable reasons. Watching it, I honestly could not figure out why people like it. Was it the languid pace and lack of urgency? Was it the battle of superior White morality over that of the evil Japanese? Was it Obi Wan Kenobi as the main character? It’s hard to say. Perhaps it’s the combination of all three.
Kwai is sort of like the ultimate movie for spoiled assholes. The movie begins with a group of freshly captured British soldiers being hauled into a Japanese POW camp. The new inmates are told they are going to be put to work building a bridge. The bridge is extremely important to the war effort and must be built on time.
Obi Wan tells Saito (the head of the Japanese camp) that officers are not required to do manual labor because of the Geneva Convention. Saito says he doesn’t care, and everyone is has to work. Obi Wan remains defiant. He and his officers refuse to work. They put up with starvation, beatings, and being locked in an iron box. Eventually, Saito gives in and tells the officers they don’t have to work. The officers get to chill while their grunts go build the bridge.