Bridge of Spies review
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Austin Stowell and others.
Genre: Historical, Drama-Thriller.
In 1957, New York, a Rudolf Abel is arrested and prosecuted as a Soviet spy by FBI agents. James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks), an insurance lawyer is asked to defend Abel. Donovan meets Abel in the prison, and offers his help as his lawyer. Abel accepts his help but denies to reveal the intelligence info to USA government. Donovan takes his work serious but it’s a joke to everyone else even to the firm (where he works), the other lawyers, the judge, entire America and his family. He is hated by every one for his work. Abel is found guilty of all the charges in the court. But Donovan convinces the judge to sentence Abel for 30 years of imprisonment, (instead of death), pointing the possibility of “Abel can be used as a bargaining chip with Russia (Soviet Union). Then he decides to appeal the case in Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Francis Gary Powers (CIA) goes on a spy plane to spy over USSR. He gets caught by the Soviet government. At the same time, Frederic Pryor an US economic student gets caught and falsely accused as an American spy by East German government. USSR government offer an exchange of Powers to Abel. How Donovan manages to bring Powers and Pryor back to USA in exchange for Abel is story which we have to see on the silver screen.
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are two such names which make any (or many) movie aficionado(s) say “I’ll watch this movie on big screen and this one surely goes in my bluray collection”. The duo delivers the same in “Bridge of Spies”. The exceptional directional abilities of Spielberg take you into the world of 1960’s America, where you can see the tension of cold war between USA and USSR through the eyes of Spielberg. The story based on the cold war, is supported by a decent cast with good performances, with Tom Hanks as James Donovan and Mark Rylance as Rudolf Abel delivering breath taking performances. I think Spielberg has blended the original story with a theme here. A theme which states “If you know what you are doing and you know you are doing the right thing, it doesn’t matter what other’s think of you”. The same was shown in many scenes. For example, we can see a woman detesting Donovan on a train for defending Abel, by seeing his photograph on a daily. Towards the end of the movie we can see the same woman on the train (in a red dress, so classy of Spielberg) revering Donovan for saving the nation by bringing back Powers and Pryor. Also when Powers tries to convince Donovan that he didn’t opened any info to USSR, he says the same words.
Spielberg also points that the wars are between nations and governments but not common people of different nations, on various occasions in the movie. Donovan, in the movie believes that people just want to lead a happy life. The same is portrayed in various scenes like people getting shot while climbing the Berlin wall (which is reminded to Donovan when he sees a bunch of kids playing by climbing a fence towards the end of the movie), the scene where Donovan meets Abel’s family, the reactions of Powers when he was shot by USSR etc. Overall the movie is a great visual feast (if you like such feasts). The background score is also good. What tickled me was the repetition of the tunes for similar types of scenes. The art direction and cinematography are up to the mark and enhances the experience for the viewer. The ability of the writers to generate humour out of such cold story while sticking to the basic nature of the characters wowed me. What amused me more is every time you laugh in the movie, there is a lesson to learn (if you are willing to).
It’s really hard to find something wrong in these types of movies. For me, the second act of the movie was a little dragging. Also, the third act was kind of rushed quickly. What I felt was, they could have cut a good 10 minutes of second act that could have been added to the third act, which might have increased the suspense and thrill in climax. For most part of the movie I was spell bound by the awesomeness of Spielberg and Hanks, so maybe I can find more negatives in the second or third viewings.
Bottom line: If you want to experience the tension of a story that happened during cold war through Spielberg’s eyes and Tom Hank’s face, then this is the movie you are looking for.
CB rating: 4/5
Reviewed by: Prudvi Nath…..
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