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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Bridge of Spies

November 25th, 2015 by Irwin Fletcher Comments


Bridge of Spies (12a)
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance & Alan Alda  
Running time: 141 min

During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is a Brooklyn lawyer who is tasked with the unenviable duty of defending accused Russian spy Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance). James is soon embroiled in deeper espionage matters as he is handed the possibility of returning to the USA U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, who crashed in Russia. With neither side willing to trust each other, James must become the voice of reason if Francis is to have any chance of returning home.

Bridge of Spies is a spectacular film that truly embraces the espionage genre and, more importantly, gives the viewer a realistic view of life not only as a spy, but also as one who is being held by a foreign power. The visuals are incredible and there is virtually no CGI to be seen (except for during the U2 flight) which enriches the sense of realism in the movie.

Director Steven Spielberg has perfectly captured the late 1950s and very early 1960s landscapes. From the idyllic suburbs of Brooklyn to the gritty, bombed out streets of East and West Berlin, the audience can easily recognise what part of the country the character is in, from the varying degrees of architecture, the décor and even the brand of brandy! No detail has been ignored in visually bringing this historic tale to the big screen.

The script is minutely detailed and leaves out the more traditional jargon that viewers have come to expect from the James Bond or Man from UNCLE type Franchises. Indeed, the script feels more akin to a novel by John Le Carré, though even his unique style of dialogue is not to be seen. Instead we have a script that is full of very informative legal terms and some mildly humorous spurts that remind the audience that there is still humour when things are at their darkest.

Tom Hanks is once again on fine form as the dogged lawyer who is trying his best to do his job under the most stressful of circumstances. Yet he also appears to sleepwalk through certain points in the movie, perhaps this just proves that the character he plays is tired of the games being played and draws the audience in to the more dramatic scenes

Bridge of Spies is exactly what a period true story spy film should be. It has the right amount of drama, humour, incredibly detailed visuals and superb acting that sets the bar for all others to follow. With so many spy films released this year, it’s perhaps understandable that this may be overlooked by the cinema audience, but for drama and content, it’s certainly the best of the year!

5 out of 5 Nerds (perfect espionage cinema)

nerds 5

I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.