Author Thornton Wilder won the Pulitzer Prize for his second novel, THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY, which was originally published in 1927. Wilder passed away in 1975, but if he were still alive he'd surely be surprised and delighted to learn that the novel has been brought to the screen for a third time. Director Mary McGuckian follows in the footsteps of Charles Brabin, who constructed an Oscar-winning silent movie around Wilder's words in 1929; and Rowland V. Lee, whose version appeared in theaters during 1944. For her interpretation, McGuckian assembles an all-star cast, which includes Robert De Niro, Kathy Bates, Harvey Keitel, and Gabriel Byrne.Set in Peru during the 1740s, McGuckian's film tells the tale of an ill-fated train journey that came to a tragic end as a rickety rope suspension bridge collapsed beneath its weight in the Peruvian mountains. The story of the passengers aboard the train is told in flashback via the recollections of a priest, Brother Juniper (Byrne), who has written a novel about the accident. Juniper is on trial for heresy due to the affirmations contained in his book; he believes that God must have plucked these people from the earth for a divine reason. De Niro plays the Archbishop who is trying Juniper, while the fated passengers who slowly roll towards their destiny include The Marquesa (Bates), Uncle Pio (Keitel), The Viceroy of Peru (F. Murray Abraham), Camila Villegas (Pilar Lopez de Ayala), and Pepita (Adriana Dominguez). As the trial and train journey unravel concurrently, McGuickan gently guides her celebrated cast through material that remains faithful to Wilder's novel, while cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe (THE OTHERS) beautifully captures the period on camera.
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