Monday, October 19, 2015

Bridge of Spies

Director Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies is a finely spun web of political gamesmanship that is based on the true story that led to the exchange of convicted Russian spy Rudolf Abel for American Pilot Francis Gary Powers.

The tight production starts with a strong script written by a surprising collaboration of the Coen Brothers and Matt Charman that has come to life with the realistic Production Design of Adam Stockhausen and the usual brilliance of Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski.
While Tom Hanks is excellent as the insurance lawyer James B. Donovan, who was wrangled by the CIA to engineer this exchange, it is Mark Rylance, who gives the standout performance as Rudolf Abel.

The film tends to move along at a slow (but comfortable) pace that is true to the slower moving times of the late ‘50s/early ‘60s.

In my opinion, the only error is in the overkill of one needless shot at the end where Donovan views from a New York train a scene that harkens back to something he saw happen from a train in Berlin.  Since we’ve already gotten the point from the shots just prior, this brings a groan rather than the intended feeling.

At its best, however, the film is a testament to the honor that enemy combatants owe each other; something that seems to have disappeared in this era.

I give Bridge of Spies a 4.1 out of 5.

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