Steven Spielberg and Tom Hank’s most recent cinematic outing – a fish-out-of-water, Capra-esque, nomination-ready potboiler – may purposely lack the flash of their past movie projects, but still stands dutifully tall alongside box office brethren like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. BRIDGE OF SPIES is an engrossingly layered, true-life tale of liberty and loyalties, of walls being built and walls crumbling down... Team Spielberg (including co-screenwriters Joel and Ethan Coen) have delivered an engrossingly chatty, tone-rich, late 50’s world born of main street innocence and spy versus spy insecurities. I’ve heard mentions that the trailers look too dry or stodgy, too much political banter and legalese. That, to some extent, is a legitimate concern – but I would counter that the greatest scenes in this movie (of which there are many) happen to be when Hanks (engagingly phenomenal in the role, as expected) is in a room simply talking to another person – be it his wife, a Russian diplomat, a government stooge or an incarcerated spy. I could have actually used more of this; specifically scenes with said spy – actor Mark Rylance – who, even with too little screen time, still brings a stoic yet humble intimacy to the film. It’s the kind of stuff Oscar nominations are made of… If you’re open to Spielberg’s particular brand of optimistic intrigue then you’ll find BRIDGE OF SPIES to be a masterful tale of morals and men, honor among enemies. It’s a confidently patient and quirkily (thanks to the Coen Bros) commanding Cold War-by-way-of-courtroom caper!
Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan and Sebastian Koch
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Running time: 2hrs. 21mins.
Story: Bridge of Spies tells the story of James Donovan (Tom Hanks), a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible task to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. [Dreamworks]