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Bridge Of Spies (2015)

December 7, 2015

Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda
Director: Steven Spielberg

Bottom Line: Bridge Of Spies took me by surprise. With Steven Spielberg directing, the Coens Brothers writing, and Tom Hanks starring, I’m not sure how this movie snuck up on me, but it did. Maybe it’s because the only Spielberg movie I’ve seen in the past decade was Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull and, well, I think we know how that disaster turned out. Now that’s not to say that Spielberg’s most recent films (War Horse, Lincoln) have been bad, but for whatever reason I just haven’t gotten around to watching them.

I’m happy to report that Bridge Of Spies, at least, is a return to form, as Spielberg takes us into Cold War espionage, with Hanks playing James B. Donovan, an American attorney charged with the unenviable task of representing a Soviet spy in court. Donovan is soon Public Enemy No. 1 when he takes his duties seriously and becomes enamored with the Soviet prisoner, making sure that the captured spy gets the due process that is the right of anyone in America.

I knew nothing of the plot before watching this movie and I was expecting an action flick, so I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a riveting character drama. Hanks is great as Donovan and Mark Rylance made Soviet spy Rudolf Abel so affable it’s easy to see how Donovan’s commitment to his case went beyond a sense of duty and became a task he was proud to see all the way through.

I would recommend Bridge Of Spies to just about anyone. I felt that it had the perfect blend of drama and character building, but I could see how some people might find it slow. I thought it was well paced, sometimes intense, and all around entertaining.

Replay Value: Worth a second viewing.
Sequel Potential: None.
Oscar Potential: It’s early, but I could see this film getting some attention – perhaps in the Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor departments. I think Rylance has a good chance at a supporting nomination as well.

Grade: 7.5/10 (Recommended/Must See)

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