SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2024 REVIEW! Dimitri Simakis’ The Rainbow Bridge is a bizarre film. This indie-comedy with incredible production values is still making my head spin. Our tale opens in the waiting room of Rainbow Bridge Enterprises. Several clients are waiting with their sick or dead pets, and loud screams are ruminating from the back room.
The next appointment is with Rita (Thu Tran) and her sick, elderly doggie MeeMoo. Rita and MeeMoo are escorted into what appears to be a dilapidated laboratory strewn with wires, keyboards, and monitors. Here, Rita meets the shady Dr. Bailey Picadillo (Heather Lawless) and her assistant, Herb (James Urbaniak).
The idea of the Rainbow Bridge is that Picadillo and Herb have discovered a way to connect owners and their aging or dead pets in a deep and spiritual way. The results of their research have been inconclusive…or, at worst, fraudulent. Success depends on how deep the owner’s bond is with their pet. Rita has the closest bond Dr. Picadillo has ever seen, and as a result, their experience opens a portal to pet heaven…but have they gone too far?
“…discovered a way to connect owners and their aging or dead pets in a deep and spiritual way.”
The Rainbow Bridge is one of those WTF short films where you just have to unplug your brain and enjoy the ride (ala The Beatle’s Yellow Submarine). The production values of this film are fun and whimsical, like what I imagine Jim Henson’s Creature Shop would look like. It blends large-size puppets with the green screen and computer animation. The lab and props are thrown together from discarded electronics and old wiring. Now add the 80s VHS feel, and The Rainbow Bridge becomes a lovingly guided acid trip.
The cast gives one very silly performance. Tran is the straight person who just goes along with whatever nutty thing Dr. Picadillo says. James Urbaniak is almost unrecognizable as Herb…except for his incredibly distinct voice.
Dimitri Simakis’ The Rainbow Bridge should be a dark ride at Disneyland—strap in for the wildest ride from the 80s.
The Rainbow Bridge screened at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.
"…should be a dark ride at Disneyland..."