(SPOILER WARNING!!! This article does contain spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, just see the first paragraph to be informed without spoilers!!!)
Bridge of Spies is a good political movie with its thrilling moments, may be really slow at times, but you will see Tom Hanks acting and Steven Spielberg’s directing at it’s finest.
Rating: 4 Stars
I get to talk about one of the greatest film directors in cinematic history, Steven Spielberg. He has made so many legendary movies that it is hard to pick out which is his best one. The way he crafts movies making it so thrilling, suspenseful, and fun. He could make the smallest thing into something epic, for example the water shaking when the T-Rex is coming in Jurassic Park. Some of my favorite movies are E.T., Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, the original Indiana Jones trilogy, and Jaws (which still makes me fear of sharks until this day). When he is directing a movie, I am in there no matter what kind of movie it is. It always seems that even his worst movies are still pretty darn good. Now he teams up with a fine actor of our time in Tom Hanks, and I knew that this movie will be good, and it always seem that historical films that Spielberg makes really brings to life the period of history. (Although the movie Lincoln I was disappointed in, but that’s another story.) Regardless, I knew this movie will be good at the very least, and I was pretty spot on.
What I Like: Let’s start with Steven Spielberg. He has a knack for bringing his movies some real life which this time was during the Cold War. I mean who can make a simple exchange of prisoners on a bridge so thrilling to watch like what Spielberg did. He went with the dark and muggy New York and East Germany approach which really bodes well for the tone of the movie. The scene of the building of the Berlin Wall was cool to watch. Of course not all the credit goes to Spielberg. I thought the dialogue of this movie was great, and I give credit to the writers which were the Cohen Brothers. A lot of the exchanges in this movie was awesome, and for a political type of movie that is hard to do. The exchanges were fun and witty which I enjoyed, and his debut scene of rejecting a full insurance claim and negotiating another claim deal was really great and set the tone for his character throughout the movie. Of course all Tom Hanks had to do was just act, and not only did he do that, but he still added his charm and wit which makes him such a great actor. My favorite exchanges is with him as, James B. Donovan, with Russian spy prisoner, Rudolf Abel played by Mark Rylance. The movie did a good job of making this Russian spy prisoner whom everyone hated into relateable and actually giving him pity because of his attitude as a prisoner. Probably the greatest quote from Abel in this movie was whenever he was asked why wasn’t he worried, sad, or scared, he always asked, “Would it help?” Which shows that he knows what it gets himself into, but has to be cool, calm, and collected. As the story goes, Donovan was an insurance lawyer who was selected the unpopular task of defending Abel accused of being a Russian Spy, and how he took his job very seriously much to the chagrin of the US government who really just want to show on paper of giving him a fair trial. This made Donovan unpopular with the media, and America in that matter almost to a point where his family was attacked by angry people. He grew to relate to Abel even though he was a spy, and really tried to give him the best in the justice system. Even though he was sentenced in guilty in all counts, Donovan still found a way to not give him the death penalty which was not easy and most popular thing to do. Later on in the movie he was asked to go to East Germany to negotiate a prisoner exchange for Abel and a American soldier, Francis Gary Powers played by Austin Stowell, who was gunned down and arrested as an American spy for Soviet Russia. The exchange needed to happen so that the prisoners won’t give away their secrets during the Cold War. So with this story you see the intensity grow, and seeing Donovan going into East Germany and how dangerous it really is, but not only did he manage to negotiate the exchange, but manage to rescue another American prisoner, Frederic Pryor played by Will Rogers, an economic student in Germany caught at the wrong time. He managed to get them to agree on a 2-1 exchange, even though their main objective was just Powers. The movie showed how brilliant Donovan was in making this all happen, and that very intense final scene where the exchanges happen was a great moment. Now when Donovan came back home, he was one of the most hated to now, a national hero. I also liked the fact that the movie made a hated prisoner in Abel to a likable person, and an American prisoner in Soviet Russia, very suspect, because his orders was to kill himself if caught, but didn’t do so, even though he didn’t talk while being a prisoner. The movie dealt with very different political themes, and for the most part, executed nicely.
The So So: Not much of in the middle, but maybe one thing. The other prisoner in Pryor was probably a little underdeveloped. We know why he is a prisoner, but why was he so important to Donovan where he was willing to break protocol with his mission. They didn’t even really show if he was suffering in prison or not. Other than that, the movies character were developed well.
What I Didn’t Like: As expected for a political thriller the movie had it’s slow points which can really drag a scene or scenes. It gets to a point where it’s like, “Ok get on with it, or get to the point.” Especially in the beginning of the movie where it really dragged for me. At least in the second half in really picked up and made this movie really good, but at least it didn’t suffer the Argo effect. (Great beginning and end, boring middle).
Overall: The movie is a good political thriller, especially for you history buffs out there. If you’re a fan of Spielberg and/or Hanks, you will get what you are looking for. Just see it for the most prisoner exchange scene ever!!!
(Sidenote: Child 44- This movie stars Tom Hardy as a Soviet Russian soldier and officer during Stalin’s dictatorship. Which he acted as a Russian very well. The movie’s premise started off intriguing as he is trying to find out the cover up of child murders in Soviet Russia. However, for a mystery type of movie, it was very, very boring. When it got to the final scene it was blah. Movie was too long with too many slow points for me to even care. That is very disappointing.
Rating: 2 Stars)