BRIDGE OF SPIES (12A)
BRIDGE OF SPIES (12A)
Run time: 141mins
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Scott Shepherd, Amy Ryan, Sebastian Koch, Alan Alda
Synopsis: James Donovan, a Brooklyn lawyer, finds himself thrust into the centre of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible task to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot.
Steven Spielberg, master director of Lincoln (2012), War Horse (2012), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Schindler’s List (1993), Jurassic Park (1993), ET, the Extra-Terrestrial (1983), brings this true story to the screen. It tells of how, during the Cold War, James B Donovan, an insurance lawyer, is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court; he then helps the CIA facilitate the exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
Screenwriters Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen have woven this remarkable episode in Donovan’s life into a morally uplifting story that captures the essence of a man who risked everything on this personal journey to danger and back.
Tom Hanks, star of Saving Mr Banks (2013), Captain Phillips (2013), The Da Vinci Code (2006), Forrest Gump (1994), gives another powerhouse performance as Donovan, an old-fashioned James Stewart type hero trying to do the right thing while facing big moral dilemmas.
Mark Rylance, one of the greatest stage actors of his generation, known for his TV and film work in Wolf Hall (2015), The Gunman (2015), Intimacy (2001), plays Rudolph Abel, the high-level Soviet spy defended by Donovan, delivering another wonderfully subtle, nuanced performance.
From its tense, opening scene, Bridge of Spies rings true to the tensions and atmosphere of Cold War paranoia. Berlin in the 1960s, with the Wall under construction, and the Glienicke Bridge connecting Potsdam in East Germany with West Berlin are stunningly recreated, as is Brooklyn USA.
The film has an atmospheric score from Thomas Newman (WALL-E, 2008; Skyfall, 2012) and solid acting support, but main credit must go to the two outstanding central performances of Hanks and Rylance, who interact wonderfully from opposite poles, making Bridge of Spies an absorbing and gripping drama, leavened with comedic moments.
Images courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox