Review: ‘Bridge of Spies’ Shows Humanity Has No Borders
“Bridge of Spies” finds the warm heart of humanity amidst a “cold war.”
“Bridge of Spies” is based on the true story of a lawyer named James Donovan. As an attorney, James played a vital role in the Cold War by acting as a defense lawyer for an accused soviet spy and later was recruited by the CIA to negotiate the release of an American spy held by the Soviets. While he was shamed for providing legal defense for a supposed spy, his bravery for upholding justice in the name of humanity is the heart of this film.
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 5
With Spielberg in the director’s chair and Tom Hanks in front of the camera, the formula for chemistry is already there. Steven Spielberg creates a historically accurate vivid environment while Hanks adapts to that environment and imposes an emotional response. It’s no surprise that these work together well but what makes “Bridge of Spies” so intriguing is that you can feel that both Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have put their hearts into this film.
When it comes to capturing the scene, Spielberg was on point with most every aspect of this film. He created emotion through his camera angles and scenery. When there was conflict or hesitancy between two characters he would establish distance on the screen, when the moments were more intimate he would bring them closer together. Spielberg has always had a way of framing things to create characters visually, and “Bridge of Spies” is a prime example.
As far as the scenery goes, think “Saving Private Ryan” meets “Catch Me if You Can.” When things are on American soil, there’s a luminescent pastel environment like in “Catch Me If You Can.” When things are on foreign soil, there’s a drab and almost weary type environment like “Saving Private Ryan.” Just like those films, he visually captured the essence of the time.
But of course the scenery needs the performances to supplement its story. Tom Hanks plays a very amiable yet savvy role which we’ve seen him play a variation of over the years. But this type of role is a role that we’ve come to love to see Tom Hanks in. I found Hanks to be completely engaged in the historical accuracy of James B. Donavan and that gave us a fluid performance. Tom Hanks was accompanied by Mark Rylance playing the Soviet spy and Amy Ryan as his wife. While the other actors gave adequate performances, it was these two actors that were the supplemental performances. Mark Rylance should be especially commended for his distant yet enriching moments of dialogue throughout the film.
From a cinematic stance, you get an intriguing story, rich characters, and the heart of cinematography from “Bridge of Spies.” You even get a bit of historical nostalgia and perspective from the film.
Entertainment Value – 4
When it comes to entertainment I think that everyone will appreciate the quality filmmaking here. This film is based on a true story and the set design is just as honest as the history. The story is emotionally suspenseful and will keep you engaged as you become more engaged with the main characters. I would find it hard for someone not to find this film entertaining unless they don’t have an appreciation for the history.
Rewatchability – 3
While this film excels in its art and is emotionally enriching, the climax and outcome of the ending don’t necessitate many repeat viewings. I would watch it again and would say it holds value to do so, but after multiple viewings that emotional connection will depreciate.
"Bridge of Spies" is a genuine film that holds both emotional and historical value. Tom Hanks is more than adequate in a role he knows well and his supporting cast are held to the same regard. I would definitely recommend this film.