Cary, NC — Bridge of Spies is the latest film from legendary director Steven Spielberg and, surprise surprise, it’s absolutely incredible!
A True Story
Spies tells the true story of American insurance lawyer James Donovan, played by Tom Hanks, and his efforts in negotiating a trade between the U.S. and Russia for captured spies during the Cold War. It’s quite a remarkable story made all the more impressive thanks to the masterful craftsmanship of director Spielberg and another great performance from Hanks.
Low-Key But Fascinating
Bridge of Spies is a fairly low-key film. It’s all dialogue. All conversations. But those conversations are riveting, and so much hinges on those conversations going well.
The film is sharply focused, wisely playing up the fact that this particular story is about the lives of two men, not the fate of two countries.
The film opens with Hanks being handed the unfortunate position of having to defend an accused Russian spy, brilliantly played by Mark Rylance, who, by law, is owed a fair and just trial. However, the “red scare” was so strong that a fair trial is made all but impossible with even the judge overlooking important evidence for the sake of a conviction. Hanks is then forced to challenge the countries’ fears, and his own, by sticking by his client’s side.
Hanks & Rylance Make a Great Team
Who better to play America’s moral compass than Tom Hanks?
Not only that, but, like Spielberg, Hanks always delivers. It’s not the showiest part, but Hanks guides us through, and, as an audience, we just follow him, trusting him with every decision – and he makes some bold decisions here. Unsurprisingly, Hanks also has a few moments of brevity that he handles like the comedic pro he is. It’s always great to see this guy on screen.
Hanks is supported by the amazing Mark Rylance as the accused spy. Rylance is new to me, though, with some research, I found that he is quite the respected theater performer. Either way, I will be paying attention no matter what he is doing.
Rylance carries himself with a confident calmness throughout, and he’s never quite as scared as you think he should be, which leads to some of the many funny exchanges between him and Hanks. It’s a great part and one that should be remembered come awards season.
Spielberg – Top of His Game
The real star of Bridge of Spies, though, is Spielberg. What a craftsman.
The way he is able to visually convey information where other directors would have put exposition. His flowing camera movements, so deft and precise. His sense of time and the way he so expertly captures the feeling of an era. I’m truly in awe of his talent.
It’s my belief that he is, at this moment, our greatest living filmmaker (though an argument could easily be made for Martin Scorsese as well).
Spielberg has always been on another level as a filmmaker, but the fact that even as he nears 70 he still pushes himself to keep learning, to try new things and to be just as good if not better than he was at 30 is simply astonishing.
So, is Bridge of Spies worth seeing? Oh yes. Impeccably made, expertly acted and a great reminder that staying true to what you feel is right can indeed pay off.
Great, great entertainment.