Violins screech and kettle drums swell as our hero tiptoes across a dangerous rope bridge swinging wildly over a dark canyon at the pulsing climax of the film. The audience gasps and grips their armrests as she kicks a loose plank and the camera painfully watches it whip and shatter against the rocky cliffside before falling into the deep river rapids below.
But after some tense moment there’s a beautiful wide shot of our hero stepping slowly past the saggy midpoint of that flimsy bridge… and that’s when she first commits to going all the way. Turning back isn’t a shortcut anymore, turning back isn’t an option, and so she firms those lips, steadies those hips, and plows forward with steely-eyed determination till she gets to the other side.
Scenes like that remind me of hitting that beautiful middle-of-nowhere midpoint on a road trip. You had the guts to tiptoe out of your neighborhood and now you’re a highway explorer whipping past barns and water towers, twiddling with new radio stations, and staring up at a whole new world just a few feet away…