After much anticipation, Film icon Steven Spielberg delivers us his latest effort, Bridge of Spies. Its story, based on a the 2010 book of the same name by Giles Whittell and memoir by James B. Donovan certainly isn’t lacking in suspense, bringing to the forefront a piece of history worthy of our attention.
The process-oriented biographical drama set during the Cold War, centers on a Brooklyn lawyer named James Donovan (Tom Hanks). Donovan after unsuccessfully defending and trying to appeal the conviction of Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), finds himself at the center of negotiations of Abel‘s release in exchange for the emancipation of imprisoned pilot Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) after Powers‘ plane is shot down and he is tried in the Soviet Union for espionage.
A victim of unfortunate timing and circumstance, an American student studying in Germany named Frederic Powers (Will Rogers) in times of suspicion and political unrest in Germany also finds himself suspected of espionage and thrust by Donovan into release negotiations. With danger manifesting itself at every corner, we find Donovan in Germany caught in a struggle to do what is right against popular opinion, despite placing himself and his family at great risk.
Bridge of Spies is a great success thanks to a script from the Coen Brothers and Matt Charman which both educates and entertains, telling a complex story at eye-level to its audience. Although a serious, intense negotation is at the center of it all, they manage to find humour in appropriate doses, painting a very human portrait of Donovan as both a political trailblazer, yet still a father and lawyer with unwavering ethics. Hanks is cast perfectly possessing all these traits as an understated, cold-suffering hero. Deserving of great acclaim this forthcoming awards season is Rylance who is brilliant in every occasional moment he appears, possessing a resonating quiet strength. A bit troubling is the lack of a real female presence in the Film. The brilliant Amy Ryan as Donovan‘s wife remains in the sidelines, truth obstructed from her.
Spielberg once again brings out the best from a superb ensemble, bringing us phenomenal storytelling. Expect Bridge of Spies to be a real force in coming months beyond its initial release.
DreamWorks Studios Canada release BRIDGE OF SPIES Friday, October 9, 2015.
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