Burning Bridges (1990)
End of an Affair
There was one reason why I watched "Burning Bridges" it was because it starred Meredith Baxter and Baxter as usual didn't disappoint. In fact all the performances in "Burning Bridges" were good but the movie itself is surprisingly dull. For a movie all about an affair and the consequences of it there is very little drama and it is that lack of drama which makes it a bit of a struggle until towards the end when it finally picks up the pace and increases the drama.
Lynn Hollinger (Meredith Baxter - Shadow on the Mesa) was having best of both worlds; she was married with two boys but also having an affair with her doctor Gus Morgan (Derek de Lint). But as she starts to feel more and more for Gus she decides to come clean and tells her husband Peter (Nick Mancuso - Today You Die) about the affair. Having decided to move to an apartment Lynn ends up having a nervous break down when things don't go as planned.
The first half of "Burning Bridges" is all about the affair, how Lynn finds more satisfaction in the arms of Gus, not because she doesn't love Peter but because Gus makes her feel something that Peter doesn't. It hints that being married and having children takes the excitement out of marriage and how it can become like work rather than a relationship. All of which is interesting especially as it should be mentioned that "Burning Bridges" is a fact based drama but it isn't very entertaining.
The second half focuses on what happens when Lynn comes clean and tells Peter she has been having an affair with Gus. We see how it affects the various people from Peter and his anger towards Lynn when she decides to move out to Gus's wife who starts drinking more. And then their is the complexity of the affair as Gus carries on not only with Lynn but also with his wife leading to emotional difficulties for Lynn and eventually the nervous breakdown.
On paper it sounds like it should be both interesting and entertaining but sadly it struggles to be entertaining as it lacks atmosphere and enough drama. The best bit of drama comes thanks of Meredith Baxter who delivers the movie's most powerful scenes when she starts to lose it; it is as close as the movie gets to being entertaining. But Baxter's performance is not the only good one and Nick Mancuso delivers an interesting performance as Peter especially in the immediate light of the affair when he confronts Gus in the street, trying to use words rather than violence to threaten him off.
What this all boils down to is that "Burning Bridges" is an interesting and well acted drama about an affair. But it is a movie which struggles for atmosphere and entertainment, only really coming close during the final 30 minutes.
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