Bridge of Spies

(2015)

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Title:
Bridge of Spies
Release Date:
15th October 2015
Runtime:
141 min
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Genres:
Directors:
Steven Spielberg
Writers:
Ethan Coen, Matt Charman
Languages:
English, German, Russian
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p

Storyline

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union captures U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after shooting down his U-2 spy plane. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, Powers' only hope is New York lawyer James Donovan, recruited by a CIA operative to negotiate his release. Donovan boards a plane to Berlin, hoping to win the young man's freedom through a prisoner exchange. If all goes well, the Russians would get Rudolf Abel, the convicted spy who Donovan defended in court.

Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 91%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 87%
IMDb Rating 7.6

Casts

Brian Hutchison as FBI Agent
Domenick Lombardozzi as Agent Blasco
Mark Fichera as FBI Agent
Mark Rylance as Rudolf Abel
Victor Verhaeghe as Agent Gamber

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bob-the-movie-man 29th November, 2015

There are combinations of film makers that make you confident, as you pay your ticket price, that you are not going to be terribly disappointed: Steven Spielberg directing; Tom Hanks taking the lead; Janusz Kaminski behind the camera; Michael Kahn editing and a Coen brothers script (with Matt Charmon (Suite Francaise)). And Bridge of Spies doesn't disappoint, particularly for someone of my more advanced years (I was born the year following the film's climatic events) who remembers well the terror of potential nuclear catastrophe that hung over the world through the 60's and 70's. In a story based on true events, Hanks plays James Donovan (diverging somewhat from reality here) as an insurance lawyer dragged by his firm into defending Rudolf Abel, the accused Soviet spy played exquisitely by British stage acting legend Mark Rylance. Against this backdrop, the international blue touch paper is about to be lit by the shooting down over Russia of Gary Powers (Austin Stowell from "Whiplash") in his U-2 spy plane (sorry – "article"). Donovan becomes instrumental in unofficially negotiating on behalf of the US government the release of Powers in East Berlin. The deal is jeopardized by his boy-scout tendencies to also want to help another US captive Frederic Pryor (Will Rogers). I've read some negative reviews of this film in the papers that made me quite cross, describing it as "yawnsome" and "sanctimoniously dull". For me, nothing could be further from the truth and the packed Saturday night audience I saw this with seemed equally gripped from beginning to end, silent save for the odd laugh where some appropriate humor is weaved into the story. Tom Hanks is solid and believable as the fish-out-of-water lawyer, albeit that the role is played with a large spoonful of patriotic American sugar as Donovan trumpets about the importance of the constitution over the lynch-mob mentality of the general public. Alan Alda – great to see again on the big screen – channels his best Hawkeye-style exasperation as Donovan's boss, looking for a clean and quick conviction. But it is Mark Rylance – an irregular player in movies, and due to appear again in next year's "BFG" – who shines out as the acting star of the film. His salubrious and calm turn as the cornered spy just reeks of class and if he isn't nominated for a Best Supporting Actor nomination for this then there is no justice. (A special 'casting recognition award' to my wife Sue for spotting that the actress playing Judge Byer's wife – Le Clanche du Rand – was Meg Ryan's mother in Sleepless in Seattle 22 years ago!) The cinematography is superb with some gorgeous tracking shots and framed scenes. Most outstanding of all is the scene depicting the traumatic construction of the Berlin wall – long tracking shots in greys and blues delivering a truly breathtaking piece of cinema. In general I'd give a big shout-out to both the art department and the special effects team in making the desolation of East Berlin feel so real. It makes the similar scenes, that I commented positively on in the recent "Man from U.N.C.L.E." seem like an amateur school production. The special effects team also contribute in making the shooting down of the U-2 a thrilling piece of cinema. Music is sparingly and effectively used by Thomas Newman, and it can be no greater complement to the composer than that I was wondering until the end titles as to whether it was another Spielberg/ John Williams collaboration or not. A great film, one of my favorites this year. Highly recommended, especially if you are over 50. You should also get out to a cinema to see this one – it will be far more effective on the big screen than the small one. (Please visit http://bob-the-movie-man.com for the graphical version of this review. Thanks.)

Reviewed by MrDHWong ([email protected]) 28th October, 2015

One of Spielberg's best most recent movies

Bridge Of Spies is a historical drama film starring Tom Hanks, co-written by the Coen brothers, and directed by Steven Spielberg. Even though its subject matter of the Cold War is something I know very little about, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am now more interested than ever to learn more about it. I rank it among the best of Spielberg's most recent movies. In 1957, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War are at their peak. Spies from both the American CIA and Soviet KGB are a major threat to the security of both world powers and each side often resorts to hasty measures to stop any classified information from being leaked. In Brooklyn, New York, Rudolf Abel is arrested under the suspicion of being a spy. James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is assigned as Abel's defence lawyer. However the idea of defending a potential Soviet spy proves to be an unpopular and difficult task for Donovan. Meanwhile, over in the Soviet Union, an American spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers is shot down and captured by the KGB. As a means to ease tension between the two warring countries, Donovan proposes a swap between the two prisoners of war, Abel for Powers. Despite containing barely any action scenes and being almost entirely made up of talking, the film never feels boring or slow paced. This is most likely due to the Coen brothers' clever screenplay and Steven Spielberg's creative direction. There were many suspenseful moments where it felt like the prisoner negotiations would go horribly wrong and that kept me on the edge of my seat. Tom Hanks also gives another memorable performance as James B. Donovan, once again proving his versatility as an actor. I rate it 8.5/10.

Reviewed by hoxjennifer 18th October, 2015

Legal/historical drama, not action

Don't be fooled by the title. Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into when you watch this film. Bridge of Spies is literally about the Cold War Bridge of Spies, where Soviet/US spies were exchanged through negotiations. This is nothing like "The Americans" (FX TV drama - for some high unrealistic and over-sexualized espionage action - redirect here) and the most action-packed scene you will see is Francis Gary Powers getting shot out of his U2 plane during his mission. Bridge of Spies is really a historical/legal drama. And based on my preliminary research, they seem to be getting most of their facts right. Obviously a little bit embellished for Hollywood's sake, Bridge of Spies does a fine job as a historical docudrama. There is a lot of talking, but it's meaningful talking. At times, the film can be a little slow {opening scene, especially}, but give it a chance and you might enjoy it. History buffs like myself will definitely enjoy it. But thrill-seekers, you're better off to see the new James Bond movie instead.

Reviewed by subxerogravity 18th October, 2015

A very good, very Spielberg motion picture, starring Tom Hanks.

This movie hit me really strangely. I was expecting a political drama about the cold war, and while indeed it was that, I was not expecting to have so much fun and for Bridge of Spies to be so humorous. The Coen brothers writing a movie Steven Spielberg would direct just sounds like a winning combination and it really was. Sealing the deal, was a great performance by Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks does what he does best, by playing an everyday man in an average life. James Donovan was just an insurance lawyer who gets caught up in the middle of the Cold War. Bridge of Spies, starts him off so normal and then turns his life into quite an adventure. And I do mean adventure. In the hands of Spielberg, the movie's visuals were large and epic. I was expecting this movie to feel more like his last flick, Lincoln. Instead it feels more like Indiana Jones, as James Donovan travels to Berlin at the time when the wall was being completed. Watching Hanks play Donovan who is just swept into an overwhelming situation and just keeps his cool and his charm is just highly enjoyable. Totally loved Bridge of Spies, It's one of the best team ups between Hanks and Spielberg and even though Lincoln was a great movie, Bridge of Spies is everything Spielberg is capable of. So entertaining.

Reviewed by nsharath009 6th October, 2015

An unshowy Steven Spielberg does a master's job with Cold War tensions, honoring a real-life attorney's victory over fear.

A feel-good Cold War melodrama, Bridge of Spies is an absorbing true-life espionage tale very smoothly handled by old pros who know what they're doing. In its grown-up seriousness and basis in historical conflict, Steven Spielberg's first feature since Lincoln three years ago joins the list of the director's half-dozen previous "war" films, but in its honoring of an American civilian who pulled off a smooth prisoner exchange between the East and West during a very tense period, the film generates an unmistakable nostalgia for a time when global conflict seemed more clear-cut and manageable than it does now. Spielberg's fourth collaboration with Tom Hanks, which world- premiered at the New York Film Festival and opens commercially on October 16, looks to generate stout box-office returns for Disney through the autumn season. For people of Spielberg's generation, the early years of the nuclear era and the stand-off between the United States and the Soviet Union represents a significant part of the fabric of childhood. With the passage of time, it's possible to tell stories of the time without furnishing them with overt propagandistic overlays, and for Westerners there is the added built-in appeal of the "we won" factor and the perception that dealing with adversaries was so much simpler then than it is now. As their focus in this impeccably rendered recreation of a moment in history, most palpably represented by the building of the Berlin Wall, Spielberg and screenwriters Matt Charman and Ethan and Joel Coen have chosen a sort-of Atticus Finch of the north, a principled, American Everyman insurance attorney unexpectedly paged to represent a high-level Soviet spy caught in New York. There is no question that Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) is guilty, but James B. Donovan (Hanks), a proper and decent family man with a professional dedication to his client and an abiding loyalty to the principles of the U.S. Constitution, has a quick and intuitive read of any legal situation and shrewdly stays at least one step ahead of the game in almost any situation.