Steven Spielberg is one of the greatest director’s of all time and him and Tom Hanks are a perfect match. Bridge of Spies is no different and brings out the best of both worlds and manages to both engage and enthrall in one of the best movies of the year.
The film takes place during the cold war and Tom Hanks stars as James Donavon, who is tasked to negotiate an exchange between a soviet spy and a U.S. pilot whose plane crashes down in the Soviet Union.
Steven Spielberg delivers once again a taught and extremely well crafted thriller that is beautifully shot with wide takes and beautiful cinematography.
Tom Hanks proves again that he is one of the best actors of his generation and delivers an Oscar worthy performance. He’s played this character before. He’s funny, reserved and knows how to keep his calm and always seems above the situation even though things never go his way while nobody believes in him. Not even his wife (played by Amy Ryan, who also can be seen in Goosebumps this same weekend, which is interesting) is supportive. Hanks must prove his worth and help save this convicted man.
Mark Rylance is also terrific as the soviet spy. Like Tom Hanks Character there is a calm nature about him and he seems completely nonchalant to whether he might die or not but the actor does such a good job that you get attached to him and feel for him even though he is kind of the villain of the film. He really does deserves a best supporting actor nomination for his role.
Bridge of Spies is a very quiet thriller and what I mean by that is that this film has no shoot out scenes or intense car chases that someone would expect going into a movie like this. It’s a string of negotiations, interrogations mixed in with some courtroom drama. This film is clearly a Spielberg film from the get-go, and it has the Spielberg magic throughout the movie. The film will be nominated for best picture at the Oscars this year and it might actually win. The academy loves these kinds of movies.
Spielberg masterfully directs this film and it mostly moves along at a coherent pace but maybe drags a little in it’s second act, where the movie focuses on Berlin and we don’t see Tom Hanks for which seems like nearly twenty minutes. If the film had been edited down to two hours the movie would have flowed better and been more entertaining.
Nevertheless, I had a tremendous time with Bridge of Spies. The Coen Brothers wrote the screenplay, and it’s fantastic. What impressed me is that there is no dialogue for the first ten minutes of the film and we are left to guess what is going on from the get-go without the film explaining the audience what is going on. You need to figure it out on your own and that’s smart filmmaking.
The cinematography is gorgeous and the camera shots are so well done and this film is lit beautifully. It’s a superb looking movie.
Overall, while the film could have been edited down to two hours, Bridge of Spies is a well-crafted, engaging thriller that is boosted by Spielberg’s terrific direction, a fantastic screenplay and an Oscar Worthy performance from Tom Hanks.