Bridge of Spies (2015)
"Bridge of Spies" stars Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda. Released on October 16, 2015, the film is about a lawyer who is tasked with negotiating the release of a U-2 spy plane pilot in exchange for a captive Soviet KGB spy.
The film is directed by Steven Spielberg, who also directed films such as Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, War Horse, and Lincoln. It is inspired by a true story about the 1960 U-2 incident during the Cold War. I have been hearing some good word of mouth for this film since its release, so I decided to check it out for myself. I really enjoyed some of Spielberg's works, especially Hook and Jurassic Park, so I thought it would be interesting to see if he could make another success out of this real life concept. Turns out he did.
The performances in this film were really good. Tom Hanks once again delivered a possible Oscar worthy performance as James Donovan, an American lawyer who is assigned to take on Rudolf Abel's (Mark Rylance) defense. I would say that based on what I saw, Hanks would have been a great lawyer in real life. I mean, if he was my lawyer, I could listen to him all day. His character was also engaging from the fact that he'll do anything to bring the pilot back to the United States. Hanks has been in some great movies throughout his years, such as Toy Story, Cast Away, and even Saving Mr. Banks. I'm really glad that he got to continue his streak with this film. Rylance was also terrific as Abel, who is pretty much not afraid of dying. Spielberg did a great job at showcasing the reality of what's going on during the Cold War with the film's splendid cinematography by Janusz Kaminski and screenplay by the Coen Brothers. Spielberg is best known for showcasing different parts of history in a realistic way, and he manages to show that strength yet again with this film. The editing was also well handled without being too messy.
One of the problems I had with this film is the pacing. It was mostly consistent with its running time, but during the second act, it got a little slow at times. However, it manages to fix itself without boring its audience. What's important about the pacing is that even though it is slow at times, it needs to pick itself back up as soon as possible, otherwise it would wind up being like reading a boring history book in school. Luckily, Spielberg knows how to keep the pace going. Another problem with this film is that it didn't have that much emotional grasp that the director is known for in his other history films, such as War Horse. It's a very interesting film, but an emotionally powerful film, it is not.
Overall, with the splendid combination of Spielberg's direction and Hanks' Oscar-worthy performance, "Bridge of Spies" is another well-acted historical drama that proves that every person does matter. It does have some pacing issues during its second act and the lack of emotional grasp, but nonetheless, it is another big win for Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. If you're a fan of Spielberg's filmography or Tom Hanks in general, it's worth checking out. Even if you're not a fan of history, it is worth watching.
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