Movie Breakdown: Bridge Of Spies

October 15, 2015


The Impression:

Bridge of Spies features Steven Spielberg directing Tom Hanks.  Their previous collaborations include a trio of gems – Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal.  Oh, and also, Joel and Ethan Coen helped touch up the script.  This all makes for something that’s can’t miss, folks.

The Reality:

There’s something undeniably pleasing about incredibly well crafted movies.  I think it’s because they tend to be entertaining without being overly taxing (emotionally, mentally, or physically), and you walk out of the theater knowing that you didn’t waste a single moment of your time.  Bridge of Spies is one of these types of films.

The story, which details the efforts of a lawyer named James Donovan (Tom Hanks), who defended a captured Russian spy and then later attempted to swap him for two imprisoned Americans during the height of the Cold War, is an interesting one, and Steven Spielberg makes sure to show you every little nugget of work that the real-life Donovan put into his heroic act.  Yes, such thoroughness means that Bridge of Spies is not a quick-paced, flashy film, but you won’t mind.  While Spielberg definitely takes his time letting the story unfold, he does a great job of keeping the mood light.  This is mostly accomplished by letting his cast shine and carry the film based on their strengths.  In Bridge of Spies Hanks is somehow even more charming, endearing and likable than he usually is (and he’s portraying a lawyer!), Mark Rylance (playing the Russian spy Rudolf Abel) turns in an award-worthy supporting performance, and the various bit players who are sprinkled about all come off as perfectly cast.  As I said up above, it’s a very well made movie – one where all of the pieces snugly fit together – and that definitely makes it worth your time.

The Lesson:

Mark Rylance is so good in Bridge of Spies that I’m baffled as to why he hasn’t been in every movie ever.


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