Can We Agree That The Bridge Blow-Up Scene In The Dark Knight Rises Is One Of The Most Amazing In Movie History?

Dark Knight bridge scene

Photo: The Dark Knight Rises

I’m not a huge movie buff, but I’ll confess to having been sucked into “The Dark Knight Rises” hysteria.


Well, in part because it looks pretty awesome.

And, in part, because they once closed the 59th Street Bridge when I was trying to cross it because they were shooting a scene from the movie.

And in part because a snippet of that scene appeared in the trailer, and it is one of the most amazing movie scenes I’ve ever seen.

In the scene in question, three of New York’s East River bridges–the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Williamsburgh Bridge–are all blown in tight succession. This is particularly meaningful to me because I cross one of those bridges twice a day (generally, the Manhattan Bridge).

(Yes, the city in the movie is “Gotham,” not New York, but the differences are subtle.)

The bridge demolition itself is arresting, but what really makes the scene so remarkable (at least in the trailer), is that there’s no sound. Normally in movies, the sound of explosions and destruction is so loud as to make the theatre shake. In this scene, there’s only a quiet background soundtrack.

I’ve included the trailer at the end, so you can watch the scene yourself if you haven’t seen it.

The action happens over only 5 seconds, though, so I’ve also broken out some screenshots.

And when I was watching the scene this time, I noticed something odd that probably helps make it even more disturbing.

I won’t ruin that surprise now. Try to figure out what it is as you go through the screen shots.

Then, silently, all hell breaks loose. Charges blow on the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge in the background.

The Brooklyn Bridge blows first--and falls. Then the Manhattan Bridge begins to fall.

Then, just as the central span of the Brooklyn Bridge is hitting the water, the charges on the Williamsburgh Bridge blow.

The central span of the Manhattan Bridge nears the water, and the central section of the Williamsburgh Bridge begins to fall.

The Brooklyn Bridge has splashed, the Manhattan Bridge is about to hit the water, and the Williamsburgh Bridge is halfway down.

And then, finally, the Williamsburgh Bridge hits the water. All of this takes less than five seconds.

So, did you notice what's odd?

Here's what's odd... The East River runs north to south. Brooklyn is on the east side of the river, and Manhattan is on the west side. In the movie, we are looking south...from over the East River toward New York Harbor to the south. We know this because of the order of the bridges--Williamsburgh, Manhattan, Brooklyn--as well as the islands in the harbor beyond. And yet, in the movie, Manhattan is on the EAST side of the river--the WRONG side. Below is a picture of the way things are supposed to be, which is shot from almost the same vantage point. That's the Williamsburgh Bridge, with the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges behind it. See how Manhattan is on the right? (West)

And here's another thing that's odd. In the trailer, the bridge-destruction appears to be being viewed by this fellow, who is watching from the 59th Street Bridge. (He is presumably wondering whether his bridge is next).

We know it's the 59th Street Bridge because of those yellow girders, which are quite distinctive. (This is a picture of the real 59th Street Bridge.)

Anyway, it's a remarkable scene. Watch it yourself below. It starts at the 45-second mark.

By the way, 19 million people have watched that trailer. So it seems safe to say that the movie is going to be a blockbuster.

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