Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Genre(s): Biography, Drama, History, Thriller
Runtime: 141 min
Starring: Tom Hanks, Alan Alda, Amy Ryan, Mark Rylance
Bridge of Spies is a fascinating historical film starring Tom Hanks. Taking place in the early 1960’s during the Cold War era, Hanks plays a by the book lawyer James Donovan, who is approached to defend a man accused of being a Russian spy. Though he knew it would be an unpopular decision, Donovan takes the case, because he believes every man deserves a fair trial. Through a series of escalating events, Donovan finds himself in enemy territory negotiating the release of an American U-2 pilot.
To no surprise, Hanks puts on an all-star performance and introduces us to yet another character we will love for years to come. However, I didn’t expect the standout performance by Mark Rylance as Rudolf Abel. It takes something special for an American to sympathize with an enemy spy. Rylance is that something special. He transforms an easily hated character and makes him redeemable. This is partly due to a wonderful performance, but even more so the top notch writing.
The Coen Brothers, along with Matt Charman, wrote an impressive dialogue driven piece. Having seen every film they’ve written, I can confidently tell you The Coen Brothers never disappoint. They keep the audience enthralled for nearly two and a half hours by developing unexpected friendships and painstaking tension. Every trailer for this film boasts about director Steven Spielberg, but fails to mention some of the greatest assets, the writers.
Spielberg is one of the best directors of all time. The man has made more blockbuster classics than anyone alive. He creates stunning visuals and awe inspiring special effects with the help of his cinematographer Janusz Kaminski. In a film that is nearly all dialogue, he still accomplishes tasteful excitement. Straying away from his usual action packed ensemble, Spielberg dives into a character study for the ages.
The Cold War was a time of mistrust, fear mongering and of course international spies. It is strange to think children of that era were taught evacuation procedures with the expectation that Russia would drop a nuclear bomb on the United States. As we now know, it concluded in a nuclear stand off, but living in that time period must have been nerve-racking. This film depicts that perfectly and gives great perspective to younger generations.
Don’t miss out on Bridge of Spies. It’s sure to be nominated for several Oscars this year. Check out the trailer below and see it in theaters today.
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