Bridge of Spies
Released October 4th 2015 (New York Film Festival) October 16th (nationwide)
2 hr 21 mins
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Tom Hanks as James B. Donovan
Mark Rylance as Rudolf Abel
Amy Ryan as Mary McKenna Donovan
Alan Alda as Thomas Watters
Austin Stowell as Francis Gary Powers
Scott Shepherd as Hoffman
Domenick Lombardozzi as Agent Blasco
Sebastian Koch as Wolfgang Vogel
Eve Hewson as Carol Donovan
Michael Gaston as Williams
Peter McRobbie as Allen Dulles
Stephen Kunken as William Tompkins
Joshua Harto as Bates
Billy Magnussen as Doug Forrester
Mark Zak as Soviet Judge
Edward James Hyland as Chief Justice Earl Warren
Marko Caka as Reporter
John Ohkuma as FBI Agent
Review by Mister Goodfella's Reviews
Steven Spielberg teams up with The Coen Brothers and Tom Hanks to bring you the most entertaining historical espionage film of the last few years. Before getting into the nitty gritty of why “Bridge Of Spies” is simply phenomenal, I confess that going into this film I had mediocre expectations due to its subject matter. Usually films in general no matter the topic is entertaining to yet since Spielberg dressed up his previous film “Lincoln” to something that I felt it wasn’t, I was worried. Within the first ten minutes “Bridge Of Spies” assured me that I was in for a much more heartfelt Spielberg journey than my previous adventure. Spielberg literally hands us the tools we need to love this film, starting off with masterful directing techniques that complement the type of film this is.
I sat down to view an “Espionage/Drama” film and that’s exactly what I got multiplied by ten. In addition Tom Hanks compliments this story with one of the most natural performances of his career assuring his place in this years “Academy Awards”. Moving onto the plot of this glorious film, “Bridge Of Spies” follows James B. Donnovan (Tom Hanks) an insurance lawyer asked to defend a Colonel suspected of being a “Soviet Spy” in one of our countries most tension filled times. One of the more shocking things would be the fact that the film is inspired by true events which makes the experience more breathless knowing the story actually happened and wasn’t fictionalized. Tom Hanks though being the lead role really took his performance to a whole new level.
What I saw on the screen was classic Tom Hanks with a more modern day natural take on a role, separating this from his other iconic characters in film history. Along with Hanks the rest of the cast’s performances flowed well with each other, but the riveting element of this film really stems from its writing. The legendary Coen Brothers wrote the script and what a great job they did, blending all of their usual elements in their films with Spielberg concluding in the perfect mixture. Spielberg in my opinion is just as good as his writers on the projects he takes on, so it was very refreshing to see him returning to the war era with over the top writing at his base. The directing here is far from generic or something that shows Spielberg’s age, instead “Bridge Of Spies” shows us that he still has it in him.
There were times where I was just in awe of the writing mainly with the negotiation scenes between Hanks and the Soviets, but for me the cinematography also gave me the same feeling. At times the beautiful sunny vibe of the old days turns into the harsh winter replica of our nations “Cold War Tensions”. The winter scenes look absolutely beautiful and are complimented by one of my favorite techniques, the use of silence without score. Every moment Hanks is outside in winter everything feels dead silent as if we’re there with him tensing up just as much as he is. The score for the film was surprisingly nothing to run home about, being that this was the first film in which Spielberg didn’t work with John Williams it was off the bat risky.
The score does set in for me as mediocre with which they could do without but the use of silence was more effective here. From fantastic performances by Hanks to masterful directing and ingenious writing, “Bridge Of Spies” will walk you down the road to the “Oscars” clenching tight and never letting go. This film is superb in every way and even though there were some minor pacing issues, “Bridge Of Spies” will leave you with a phenomenal feeling. Spielberg/Hanks journey back to the “Cold War Era” is worth taking thanks to the Coen Brothers.