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Jordan95's avatar

Jordan95

Probably Spielberg's best film since Munich, Bridge of Spies is a restrained and reflective film about the tense political climate of the Cold War and doing the right thing amidst the vast paranoia of that time period. Continuing his directing approach from Lincoln, Spielberg is equally restrained in his storytelling choices and narrative style. The opening ten minutes, a mostly wordless sequence without music lifted straight from police thrillers of the 70s, showcase this masterful approach, quite different from the usual Spielberg. However, once more, the trademark Spielberg sentimentality kept mostly in check for 95% of the film makes its appearance in the closing moments. Spielberg can't quite control himself from including schmaltz at least twice per film, but the final scene still provides an thematically interesting, if unsubtle, shot.

Kaminski's cinematography is unsurprisingly brillant and perfectly compliments Spielberg's bold visual staging. In a time where many mainstream films are edited within an inch of their life, Spielberg remains with his consistent use of brillant long takes that nevertheless don't call attention to themselves. For a director repeatedly criticized for being commercial and excessive, Spielberg continues to prove his knowledge of the craft.

Tom Hanks doesn't really stretch himself here in terms of acting, but he's undeniably solid. Hanks isn't really the kind of actor known for being diverse in his choice of roles, but at the same time he's a consistently reliable one. His conversations with Mark Rylance, in a fascinating and greatly understated performance, are the highlight of the film.

Bridge of Spies won't be remembered among Spielberg's classics, but remains an involving and stunningly made film.
8 years 3 months ago
Siskoid's avatar

Siskoid

Not going to lie, I've been struggling to find latter-day Steven Spielberg relevant, and it's the Cohen Bros.' contribution to Bridge of Spies' script that got me buying a ticket to his latest film. Spielberg's sentimental manipulation is reigned in for the most part (a cloying moment in the epilogue still annoyed me though), and what does shine through is the funny, quirky and absurdist dialog. In fact, Bridge of Spies is surprisingly funny, given the film still manages to be both suspenseful and heartfelt. If you don't know the story, the U.S. captured and jailed a communist spy at the height of the Cold War, and the U.S.S.R. did the same to the pilot of an American spy plane. They couldn't trade prisoners officially, so a lawyer was sent to broker a deal. Cue Tom Hanks. Obviously, Spielberg uses this to comment on today's War on Terror, with the American pilot being treated inhumanely, à la Guantanamo, and with Hanks making speeches about the American justice system that fall on the deaf ears of American lynch mobs. It's all supposed to feel familiar, but he doesn't over-stress it. It's there if you want it, but it doesn't get preachy. I can honestly say I haven't liked a Spielberg film this much in more than a decade.
8 years 3 months ago
Clintmwells's avatar

Clintmwells

Great first half. Mediocre second half.

Spielberg is a masterful film maker and Bridge of Spies once again proves why. The Coen brothers' script is well written and interesting.

Great acting all around, especially from Hanks as usual.
8 years 2 months ago
fonz's avatar

fonz

Spielberg directs Hanks from a Coen Bros script. What more could you want? You sort of expect more from that combination and based on the result, I feel that if any of the players were not involved, the result would be much the same although lacking the gravitas that Spielberg, Hanks and the Coens brought. It looks good, Hanks delivers a performance that is on the edge of phoning it in and the Coen's revisions are apparent in some scenes. The real highlight is Mark Rylance's wonderfully subdued performance as Rudolf Abel. At the ripe young age of 55, he is poised to breakout into a wonderful career in the talkies, just as long as he can keep his nose off the sauce and his eyes on the prize.
8 years 3 months ago
Shazaaaam's avatar

Shazaaaam

Another oblique Spielberg take on the War on Terror (see also Munich, War of the Worlds, The Terminal). Good humor and suspense, with a solid humanitarian message at the center. And, like just about always, a great performance by Tom Hanks.
8 years 4 months ago
clarafpicado's avatar

clarafpicado

Good movie, very well written as you would expect from Coen brothers. Also good direction style by Spielberg .

In my opinion the first part was more interesting than the rest.
I don't think this had that much USA propaganda. Actually I think some little things actually made a little bit fun of it?
7 years 11 months ago
chryzsh's avatar

chryzsh

Pretty bland
8 years 2 months ago
frankqb's avatar

frankqb

Strong performances lead this film (with a special nod to Mark Rylance who deserves consideration in the awards season) about a man charged with espionage and the American who must defend him. The film is whip tight in its pacing and editing, smart and sophisticated about the way things unfold. Hanks is his usual perfect everyman and the story makes it easy to forget you're watching Tom Hanks. That said, there are inconsistencies in the script where the lead character will moralize about something only to show himself doing the opposite later. This is fine when the character is duplicitous but this is clearly not the case here.

Overall, Bridge of Spies is a mostly well-written film, full of some very wonderful moments, told with great performances and near-perfect editing (a few loose story threads got lost), but is saddled with a few film writing tropes that tend to draw the viewer out. In some ways, those tropes (the 3x punchline setup, the powerful story callback) are indicative of the target audience (baby boomers who grew up on such writing tools) but they also stand out in an otherwise very natural script.

3 stars out of 4 (Probably a top 10 of 2015 film)
8 years 4 months ago
Earring72's avatar

Earring72

Underrated Spielberg movie. Great looking and excelent cast with an absorbing story. Really very good!!!
3 years 8 months ago
DisneyStitch's avatar

DisneyStitch

I'm not really sure what this movie wants to be. It isn't really a "spy" movie in the truest sense, I guess I'll put it under being a cold war thriller but I didn't think it was terribly thrilling. Spielberg has unfortunately lost a great deal of his touch over the years. Back in the day you could smell a Spielberg flick just by watching some of the film work but it doesn't ring as true anymore. You'd think that Spielberg behind the camera with a Coen brothers script in his hand would be solid gold, unfortunately it didn't pan out quite like that.

Tom Hanks gives a solid performance, but his character isn't that interesting. The danger factor also isn't as present as the countless other spy/war movies that you can probably rattle off as your own personal favorites. I guess a "B-" is fair for this one.
7 years 1 month ago
audiopile's avatar

audiopile

ZZZzzzzzzzz.
7 years 12 months ago
The_Comatorium's avatar

The_Comatorium

I felt the second half was MUCH better than the first. The bridge exchange was wonderfully shot and scored. Also, Mark Rylance was very very good. I enjoyed it.
8 years ago
ikkegoemikke's avatar

ikkegoemikke

"I am Irish, you are German.
But what makes us Americans?
Just one thing,
The rulebook. We call it the Constitution and agree to the rules, and that's what makes us American."


image

Spielberg returns to the history of war long after "War Horse", a story of a stallion with a Lassie attitude during WWI, but not with heroic images of the battlefield as in "Saving Private Ryan". "Bridge of Spies" takes place during the Cold War. A period during which espionage was commonplace and super powers completely distrusted each other. As a result a whole arsenal of nuclear missiles were aiming at the main cities in both continents. Spies infiltrated into society and gave the authorities and agencies all sorts of secret information. And those spies just look like we imagined them. Dignified dressed men with a long coat and a stylish trilby, shyly and cautiously moving through the crowd and revealing a rolled up piece of paper somewhere out of a wall. After that they deciphered this message by means of an ingenious mechanism and a complicated decoding key in their sober furnished apartment. And that message contained the new coordinates where the next message was hidden. Well, in my childhood I imagined it would be like that.

The most successful part of this film are the overall eye-catching images and decorations. The setting looks absolutely beautiful with lots of details. The city of New York in the 60s with its boulevards full of beautiful cars, the costumes, the atmosphere and family values in that period. Thus we are introduced to the the family of James Donovan (Tom Hanks). A typical American model family, residing in a house decorated in atom style, elegantly dressed in the fashion of those days and with a disciplined lifestyle. In contrast, a bit later we are witnessing the construction of the Berlin wall that splits this city into two parts. A grim, postwar, snow covered Berlin where heartbreaking scenes take place.

Key figure in this espionage drama is James Donovan, an ordinary lawyer who's specialized in legal cases with insurance companies. From one moment to the other he needs to defend the recently arrested Russian spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance). In those days anyone or anything that has to do with communism is automatically suspicious and should be condemned immediately. This means that this cold-blooded spy can't count on a fair trial. But they forgot about Donovan, because this principled lawyer convulsively believes in the constitutional rule that everyone, no matter what their crime or origin, is entitled to a defense and isn't guilty until proved otherwise. The result is that the hostile public opinion isn't only focused on Abel but also on Donovan, someone of Irish descent but American at heart.

Did "Bridge of spies" make a huge impression on me? No not really. Not that the perfectionistic images are disappointing. Or that the acting is abominably bad. But because I wasn't waiting for the umpteenth historical documentary about the 2nd World War. The used clichéd contradictions between the two superpowers was a bit to obvious. For instance, the circumstances of Abel's imprisonment seemed more comfortable than those of the American prisoners in Eastern Europe. And the cunning way Spielberg bypasses the historical character and gives it a more adventurous and heroic touch, shows that he must make concessions to Hollywood's management. On the other hand it was a relief to see that the image of a spy is shown in a realistic way. So don't expect James Bond or Ethan Hunt situations, filled with impetuous action and death-defying stunts while making use of high tech gadgets. The spies in "Bridge of spies" are ordinary characters who perform their "spy-work" in a simple and less spectacular way.

And finally, the importance of a star actor such as Tom Hanks is of course crucial for this film.Hanks is and will always remain one of my favorite actors. A charismatic and versatile actor who turns each role into a masterpiece. He dominates in every movie. Without Hanks this would only be a typical historical drama that has taken shape in the mind of the master himself, Steven Spielberg.

More reviews here : http://bit.ly/1KIdQMT
8 years ago
chunkylefunga's avatar

chunkylefunga

Average film and I'm annoyed that when the police officers shouts at Hanks that he was in the 3rd wave at Normandy, that Hanks didn't reply that he was in the 1st!
8 years 1 month ago
BLJNBrouwer's avatar

BLJNBrouwer

Shouldn't there be an official poster for this film?
8 years 2 months ago

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