Let’s just agree every time Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks collaborate, a treat is guaranteed for the moviegoers. Think Saving Private Ryan, think The Terminal, think Catch Me If You Can. The latest that is Bridge of Spies is no different. Do yourself a favor and book your tickets to the first show you can already.
Diving into history once again this time, Spielberg pulls out a winner set in the Cold War. Hanks plays James Donovan, a lawyer in Brooklyn who would later in history be known for successfully negotiating the release of the captured pilot of a spy plane (Francis Gary Powers played by Austin Stowell in the movie) in exchange for Russian spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance).
Bridge of Spies opens with some beautifully shot scenes featuring Abel who is captured by the Americans on charges of espionage. Donovan is chosen to defend Abel; the latter an entire nation is already up against. Resultantly, Donovan too isn’t particularly very popular among the general public and battles an already biased system. In a parallel plot, a group of young pilots are sent on a mission to spy on the Soviets. One of the spy planes is shot down, the pilot (Powers) captured and eventually sentenced to prison (Read up on the U-2 Incident). Donovan eventually finds himself in Berlin negotiating the exchange of Powers and Abel with the Soviet Union officials.
The movie belongs to Tom Hanks; as if that needed any saying. It is incredible how this one actor continues to deliver picture-perfect performances year after year. Bridge of Spies is also the very awesome Mark Rylance‘s. Both actors form the soul of the movie and in the scenes featuring the two of them together, you are tempted to root for Rylance who gets some cleverly written lines and holds his own magnificently before Hanks.
The attention to detail and research is top-notch but it is not as if the world expects anything less from Steven Spielberg. The mood set is aptly somber, the pace is leisurely, the direction flawless. A beautiful sequence is the one that shows the building of the Berlin Wall capturing the German city of the times perfectly. The constant shifts between the stories of Rudolf Abel and Francis Gary Powers may seem abrupt in the beginning but one gets used to it, and the eventual coming together of both is handled with perfection. The second half of the movie set in Berlin while is strewn with the right amount of tension (as the story such as this demands), tends to meander as things begin to drag a bit. Certain shots leading to the end also make you want to roll your eyes with the sheer obviousness of it all. However, packed together, Bridge of Spies is a brilliant watch.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg; do you need more reasons? Watch Bridge of Spies. Your history lesson just got a lot more riveting.