Cinematic Releases: Bridge Of Spies

The continued team up of super powers Hanks and Spielberg turns out another great motion picture. 

"Cast Away sequel? No.
That has GOT to be the worst idea
I've ever heard. Wait! How big
is the paycheck?"
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks come in from the cold to deliver another highly rendered historical piece that once again showcases both of their impeccable talents. Unlike most revisionist history lessons, Bridge of Spies never feels melodramatic or falsely predicated on creating its own vision of the beginnings of the Cold War. This is a relevant cinematic entry that furthers the continued successes of two geniuses still at the top of their game.

This is a prime specimen of Hanks and Spielberg doing their finest work like a finely tuned machine churning out quality entertainment that is definitely heavy in plot but never confusing or too callous in its characterization of the opposing communist factions. If anything, Bridge of Spies shows the balance between the Soviets and the U.S., never slighting either as Spielberg ever so delicately trudges through a politically charged landscape void of judgement or fabrication. Tonally the film is an even plateau of Hanks' consistently good natured roles and Spielberg's magical gift for endearing tales. Despite a slowly building first act, Bridge of Spies is proof positive that Spielberg still hasn't lost his gift for period pieces.

Documenting the past on film is never an easy task. The writing here is top shelf material offering up moments of tension, comedic bits and pieces, and a cast that throws themselves headlong into their respective characters. Hinging on the always studious Tom Hanks and a phenomenal performance from character actor Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies has a hard nosed reality factor that might suffer under the duress of a less skilled acting troupe. Here, all the actors feel era correct in their physical presentation as well as their dialect and skillful articulation of character. Resting on the backbone of such a strong supporting cast, Hanks is allowed to shine brightly with a role that might get him another Oscar nod. His portrayal as attorney James B. Donovan is well spoken, mild mannered, and invokes a feeling of a time when patriotic men stood for what they believed in both morally and politically.

tom hanks
"My finger. Pull it."
Like every other film in the vast library of Spielberg's career, the sets are crafted perfectly, the music is beautiful and captures the essence of each scene while the costume design and effects are a virtual time machine transporting audiences back into realistic courtroom dramatics and Donovan's venture to free men held on charges of espionage. Taking cues from his own films and a couple standardized scenes that feel like they were heavily borrowed from A Time To Kill, Bridge Of Spies only stumbles during its first forty five minutes. From then on, it moves at a quicker pace as Hanks' character begins the real journey to solve the multiple problems at hand.

If you're looking for an end of year highlight or were let down by this summer's big box office blunders, Bridge Of Spies will fill in some of those blanks. This is a fascinating true story that shows heart in the face of great adversity and offers a story that history buffs will love to see transposed to the screen. Between the performances, music, and eloquent subtlety of the movie, this is easily one of the best of the year and sits in the upper echelon of Spielberg's later works. This doesn't feel like Oscar bait but more so a study of  two men in love with the material they're working with. And it shows.



Like espionage? Share this review, 'ya commie bastard!
StumbleUpon Reddit Pinterest Facebook Twitter Addthis