The American Renaissance: Chapter Four: Netflix’s The Bridge
By Michael Moriarty
I am relatively new to Netflix but I am, as most people have been, sold on it completely.
My most recent fixation within Netflix is The Bridge… and, yes! My attendance is as much a fixation as it is thorough enjoyment!
No! I don’t enjoy every minute because so much of it, the low light and editing particularly, are deliberately bewildering; but, one’s attention grows even more tenacious as such challenges to one’s understanding and retentive powers mount!
At 76 years of age?! A CHALLENGE!
The number of characters that are kept in the air increase as the three series and ten-episode-marathons roll on unrelentingly.
Once you are hooked, however, it becomes increasingly impossible to tear yourself from it.
Without giving too much of it away, the essential metaphor for the entire enterprise is, indeed, the very, very long bridge that spans the watery gulf between Sweden and Denmark.
The three, principle police officers that somehow survive what is an unending bloodbath, one female officer from Sweden and inevitably two from Denmark. The first of the two is… well, I certainly don’t want to give the story away… so… yes, I’ll let you wonder.
The central figure, “Saga”, has the perfect name for an English-speaking audience because, indeed, her entire life is one, very mesmerizing “saga” within her battle to not only deal with the horrors of her childhood but with, as far as I know, a previously unexamined affliction in world drama: “Asberger syndrome”.
One increasingly painful symptom of the distress is her inability to empathize or, indeed, to shed a tear over anything.
“Saga”, by the way, is pronounced in Swedish with a long “A” sound in its first syllable, as in wage.
The other two, male officers?
Both are similarly haunted but not by disease, unless you call drug addiction a disease and one’s own memory a curse.
This is a Scandinavian “Heavyweight” in the tradition of Ibsen, Strindberg and the filmmaker Ingmar Bergman.
It’s hard to find any richer drama, either in contemporary theater, today’s movies or our everyday television fare.
One major disappointment is almost to be expected.
After thirty hours of one woman’s complete inability to weep?!
When the moment of healthy and most obligatory catharsis comes at the very end and our heroine, after a record length of desert dry life, is finally able to cry her guts out?!
One is so with her by then that you want to weep with her and at great length.
She is, however, so beautiful and, indeed, an authentically gifted star and master of film acting and extremely tight close-ups, one must forgive her.
As has frequently been repeated, “If acting were mainly the ability to cry on cue, my aunt Milly would have been Duse!”
Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty.