Hanks and Spielberg traverse the Cold War in 'Bridge of Spies'
Bridge of Spies
4 out of 5 Stars
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Rated: PG-13 for some violence and brief strong language
Recommended To: Those looking for a solid film with fine performances
Synopsis: Insurance lawyer James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is asked by the CIA to represent a suspected Soviet spy at height of the Cold War.
Review: The life of James B. Donovan is a thrilling story in the hands of screenwriters Matt Charman, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen and director Steven Spielberg. It's a story that I was completely unaware with, the sort that shows the best and worst of America as one man's decision to rational and humane, rather than simply overly patriotic. Tom Hanks is as engaging and understated as you'd expect; the fact that he makes everything look so easy might actually diminish his chances at another Oscar nomination. Mark Rylance (a brilliant stage actor with too few cinema roles) is equally as good as Rudolf Abel, the accused spy.
While some might be disappointed to learn that Bridge of Spies is less an action thriller and more of a character drama, I personally enjoyed the more intellectual approach. There's plenty of story here, nearly enough for two films if Spielberg had wanted to split Donovan's transformation from reviled to redeemed, and what it lacks in spirited gunfights it makes up for with intrigue and suspense. Not everything has to be in the style of Jason Bourne or James Bond. A little variety, particularly when it's wrapped in a history lesson and in the hands of a cinematic master, is a very good thing.
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