RELEASE DATE: October 16, 2015
STUDIO: Walt Disney Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures
DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg
MPAA RATING: PG-13 (for some violence and brief strong language)
SCREENWRITERS: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Matt Charman
STARRING: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Scott Shepherd, Amy Ryan, Sebastian Koch, Alan Alda
GENRE: Drama, Thriller
The Cold War was a crazy situation. The U.S.A. and USSR were both dangerously suspicious of the others nuclear capabilities and intentions. There were spies from both sides doing some fairly nefarious things and transmitting secrets. That’s where Bridge of Spies takes us. To a time when that tension was at an all time high and kids were being taught (incorrectly) how to handle a nuclear bomb strike from USSR forces.
It was a scary time when neighbors didn’t trust each other if something seemed even a bit off about someone. Bridge of Spies expresses that paranoia pretty well in the outright hatred expressed by the community towards suspected spy Rudolf Abel. Even when he gets life in prison they outcry for his immediate death. Mark Rylance plays the reviled spy with a quiet nobility. He’s humble in the face of extreme hatred and and death. You know he’s a spy for the other side but he’s likeable and you can’t really hate him. Tom Hanks plays his defense lawyer James Donovan who becomes the second most hated man by way of just doing his job. Donovan is called a traitor and his family home is shot at by people in his town. The performances by the various smaller players are good enough not to ruin anything but they’re just so small that it wouldn’t be a detriment if someone else did it.
My biggest problem with this movie is that they didn’t show necessarily how bad the hatred was for Donovan in response to handling the defense of a Soviet spy got. We all know when Americans hate something we get bad really bad. There was one incident and the movie moved on after that. I felt they glossed over our ignorant behavior in the equation of why things were as bad as they were for Americans abroad and at home. Not much more time needed to be dedicated to it but it felt like it was pushed to the side a little. Also, after all of the conflict and tension it seemed like the ending was going to be something epic. What you get is a slightly tense but ultimately non eventful solution to the film. I know that the movie is based on true events but if a situation needed some Hollywood injected in to it,this was it.
Bridge of Spies is what it set out to be. It’s a movie with built in Oscar considerations because of the subject matter and the excellent performances from the two main actors (Hanks and Rylance). Bottom line is, this is a good movie.