Bridge of Spies is Steven Spielberg's latest work, which follows Tom Hanks through a Cold War era story. He plays James Donovan, an American legal attourney who is roped into a hostage trade with the Soviet Union involving his client. Like any Spielberg film, it is a great drama with plenty of emotional highs and lows. It involves all the Spielberg elements; a good score, a coherent script (written by the Coen brothers), actors chosen for their suitability and talent rather than celebrity status and of course wonderful cinematography. It stands as a testament to Spielberg's mastered skill, and rightly so.
But it gets a little too patriotic at times. The story is obviously told from the American side and more than once, the treatment of American soldiers in Russia is compared to the treament of Russian soldiers in America. Neither are accurate, probably, and it's clearly just American bias in order to dramatize the story. But it is an American movie made for an American audience, so I shouldn't have expected any less.
John Williams was supposed to write the score for Bridge of Spies, but he fell sick before doing it. Thomas Newman is truly the next best thing in the film scoring industry, and he proved that with this soundtrack. I've been listening to it on YouTube ever since I saw the film. Unfortunately, John Williams doesn't have many years left, so Thomas Newman would be a wonderful permanent replacement for Spielberg films, as the score is always a hugely important part of his films.
The story is definitely engaging throughout, but some parts fall away. Frederic Pryor becomes an important part of the finale, but we only see five minutes of his back story, so it is hard to sympathise with him, whereas we see much of the other involved characters and can sympathise with them much easier. It is based on a true story, and while dramatised for the purpose of storytelling, some parts are inaccurate. Upon further reading, James Donovan was actually quite involved in intelligence before this event, but the films depicts him as misplaced among the event. It's something I can look past, but I would have preferred a truer depiction of the story.
That said, it's right up there with Lincoln to show that Spielberg is still in top form in the final third of his career. He has that magic ability to make you feel happy and sad at the same time in the final stages of the film. Even though I've pointed out faults, everything else was close to perfect. The acting was brilliant especially the chemistry between Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance. And it has replay value, it's certainly a film a will watch again.