Bridge of Spies

28 Jan

It’s James B. Donovan (played by Tom Hanks) is an unassuming insurance lawyer with a settled life, great family and nice home. One day he’s going about his normal business negotiating insurance claims when his boss Thomas Watters Jr (by Alan Alda) calls him into his office and offers him an opportunity that’s impossible to refuse. He was once successful in negotiating a great outcome that involved high level political stakeholders – now the US Government wants him to do it again. He’s recruited by the CIA as a defence lawyer to represent Rudolf Abel (by Mark Rylance) – a suspected Soviet Agent charged with spying and sharing US secrets with his own government. Abel is the most pleasant and calm of men, who looks like he wouldn’t hurt a fly – far less work as a Soviet spy. Donovan provides his defence and in the face of political influence he gives him a fair representation, true to his own morals and ethics. During the hearings, he realises there may be more at stake here than first appears so he appeals to the CIA. Then when US pilot Francis Gary Powers is arrested alive in the Soviet Union after his plane is shot down during a mission, things get far more intense with much higher stakes. This is the story of James B. Donovan’s involvement in the negotiation in an attempt to secure the safe release of Powers.

This movie promises much and the performances are good – as James B. Donovan, Tom Hanks is as strong as ever and Mark Rylance puts in a remarkable performance as Rudolf Abel.  He really deserves the awards he received for this effort from the various film critics’ societies of Boston, Indiewire, London, US National, New York, Phoenix, Toronto and Vancouver. It’s good to see Alan Alda here too, he does well. But, for me it somehow fails to deliver in full. I know it’s a true story – and it’s a good story – but the suspense is not there for me. Having said that though, I did find it a good movie to watch all the same. I may be on my own in that regard as not only has Mark Rylance been universally praised, but the movie itself has been nominated for several Academy Awards (Oscars) and has already received “Movie of the Year” awards from the AFI and the National Board of Review. The Boston Online Film Critics Association gave it 7th place in of the “Ten Best Films of the Year” and director Steven Spielberg won the Heartland Film Truly Moving Picture Award. Cinematography, Sound and Images have also been awarded by the Hollywood Film Awards and the Women Film Critics Circle Awards. So it might be just me …

Made in 2015.  Directed by Steven Spielberg.

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Posted by on January 28, 2016 in Movies


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