Director Steven Spielberg directs this true story cold war drama in which Tom Hanks plays an insurance lawyer hired by the U.S government to defend a Soviet spy in court which will hopefully lead to negotiations to swap for an American spy captured in Russia.
In my personal opinion I believe Steven Spielberg to be the finest visual storyteller of our time, I think he's a genius with no equal in his field. So it's no surprise to me that I left Bridge Of Spies feeling thrilled, entertained and fully satisfied. Bridge Of Spies isn't as grandiose as some of Spielberg's other work which is why I believe it's not being talked about as much as it should be. Around the board, Bridge Of Spies is a success. It's paced excellently for a start, at a whopping 141 minutes there is little down time, perhaps 10-15 minutes should have been shaved off but I was struggling to see scenes that weren't pivotal to the film, it all flows excellently.
Tom Hanks is as reliable as ever, giving a truly terrific performance that he probably won't be nominated for, but should at least be in the conversation. Hanks plays a hardworking family man who instantly becomes the most hated man in America when he accepts to defend a Soviet spy. Hanks always brings that likable every man quality to a performance, he's funny, compassionate and hardworking and I really loved his character. But the real standout is supporting actor Mark Rylance who plays the Soviet spy Hanks must defend, he was incredible, he played everything really calm, slow and injected some well timed humor into his role.
There isn't a ton of action in Bridge Of Spies but the thrills come from the excellent dialogue written by the Coen Brothers, this is a really great script. Spielberg really does a great job adapting the script, this is an excellently shot and edited film also, on a visual level as well as a story level, I was hooked from beginning to end. Bridge Of Spies is easily one of the best directed films of the year.
There's a lot of sitting in rooms and negotiating so if you're not a fan of films with just heaps of dialogue and little to no action then Bridge Of Spies might not be for you, but I implore you to give it a chance because those scenes are still incredibly exciting. But it was the underlying story of Bridge Of Spies which kept me so invested. This year there hasn't been a lot of stories in movies that kept me as emotionally invested as Bridge Of Spies did, I cared about what happened to these characters, I wanted the negotiations to go well so that these spies could go back to their respective homes.
My biggest and only real problem with Bridge Of Spies is the story of Francis Gary Powers, the US Spy pilot captured in Russia whom Hanks' character must bargain for. We never really get any sense of a character from him, we see him get captured, tortured and trialed but I wasn't really emotionally connected to these scenes due to a lack of character from Powers.
Bridge Of Spies isn't one of Spielberg's greatest accomplishments. It's not viscerally enthralling like Saving Private Ryan or Munich or fun like Jurassic Park and E.T, but it is an extremely directed true story with two knockout performances, a great script and a story that will hook you.
What did you think of Bridge Of Spies? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97