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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Bridge of Spies Review

Bridge of Spies is directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Tom Hanks. It is about an insurance lawyer who agrees to represent someone who was caught in America as a soviet spy. At this time he becomes very unpopular with his country because America hated the soviets during The Cold War. Then he becomes more hated when he agrees to negotiate a swap between Russia and America about 2 captured spies. He doesn't have a political standpoint however, the CIA feels like he is good at talking so they hire him to do this dangerous, and risk full task. This is based on a True Story.
I went into this movie hoping, just hoping I would get enjoyment out of it and I certainly did. I can't wait to buy it the day it comes out.
Bridge of Spies is a different war film than you might be used to. There are no scenes with actual war. It is about a lawyer who went over to Germany to negotiate a swap. This is a movie that is very dialogue heavy. So if you are one of those people who don't like movies or get bored in movies with lots of talking, you probably won't enjoy this movie.
If you are one of the people who get goosebumps when you watch a perfect crafted scene, you will have the time of your life watching this. He uses camera close ups, camera wide shots to simulate camera cuts that aren't actually there. He makes the scenes have maximum dramatic effect. He does it just like the old Hollywood style filmmaking. If you love the classic films like 12 Angry Men or North by North West there is no doubt you will enjoy this movie. This is the best directed film I have seen all year.
Let's talk about Tom Hanks. One of the most likable actors alive today and even cinematic history. Once again he gives a stellar performance. An Oscar worthy performance. He is funny and instantly likable. He reminded me of Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window.  He takes the movie and makes it his own. You can tell it is a great performance when you don't see the actor in the role. I did not see Hanks in this movie. I saw his character and that is always a positive. There are multiple scenes in this movie where it is just Hanks and another person talking. There is no action to help propel the scenes, it's just Hanks.
What makes this so interesting is the underlying story.  It's a negotiation movie, it's a courtroom drama. It's a war film that doesn't focus on the physical aspect. It focuses on the mental aspect. It's a war film that highlights the emotional part more than anything else. However, Spielberg directs it as if it was an action film.
Another performance in this film that caught my attention was Mark Rylance who plays the soviet spy. I see a best supporting actor oscar nomination in his future.
If I were to pick some negatives with this movie it would be elements that take place in the second act about the american spy that got captured. You can tell it was there just to make you care. But there is an incredible plane scene in this segment that blew me away.
The other negative is the score. This movie is the first Spielberg movie since the Color Purple in 1985 that is not composed by John Williams. You can definitely tell it was missing some of that Williams magic. Thomas Newman did his best, but the score was disappointing.
Bridge of Spies isn't one of Spielberg's best. You won't want to watch it again and again like you might with Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, or Jurassic Park. Bridge of Spies is the best Cold War film I've seen. It's funny, likable, and film that should get your attention.
Bridge of Spies gets a 9.6/10

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