Steven Spielberg is back at it again with another war themed film with Tom Hanks in “Bridge of Spies.” The two beloved celebrities have worked with one another in three other films such as “Catch Me If You Can” and “The Terminal”. This also marks their first time working together on a war film since 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan.” With their track record of films together being well received, does this film add onto the impressive list, or does this mark their first dud?
The film takes place in 1957 during the Cold War with FBI agents capturing soviet spy Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance) in Brooklyn, New York. Needing a lawyer to defend him in court, James Donovan (Tom Hanks) takes the case, despite Abel being a Soviet spy. While at first regretting to agree to the job, Donovan soon realizes the necessity of Abel being able to have his equal right to a fair trial.
Two Americans captured by the Soviets in Berlin, one shot down in a plane and the other accused of being a spy, are now in need of rescue. This is a film full of drama and suspense. What’s going to happen to everyone in Brooklyn and Berlin, and how does it all tie together?
“Bridge of Spies” is one of those war films that’s very heavy on its dialogue and lacking in action. That is not necessarily a negative since there has been plenty of high quality war films that follow this formula like last year’s “The Imitation Game.”
Written by the famous Coen brothers, who have shown their remarkable skills in projects like No Country for Old Men, True Grit, and Fargo, the writing in this film is done very well, There did not seem to be much attention on them being the writers so it will come off as a surprise to some, but they do a marvelous job regardless.
Spielberg does a magnificent job directing this film by bringing the drama and characters together well. There’s overarching themes of how our world treats each other, everyone deserves the right to do what they believe in, and we’re all human in the end. The movie excels with the help of the talented writers and actors.
Casting is also very solid. Tom Hanks shows off his amazing talents again in this film. It’s not a career high for him, but it’s still very memorable and interesting to watch. The lesser known actors bring life into their characters and are clearly immersed in their respective roles.
Some of the biggest surprises of this film are its moments of humor. There is nothing that makes the audience laugh out loud, but it breaks the heavier tension and creates a strong sense of realism.
While I’ve been praising “Bridge of Spies” in nearly every way, I don’t think it’s a movie made for multiple viewings. With no action scenes and a focus on dialogue, this definitely makes for a lengthy movie. There was an occasion where I had to check the time because of how long this film was. If the length of the film was about 30 minutes shorter, perhaps I would be able to enjoy “Bridge of Spies” more. That is not necessarily negative, but it’s not my cup of tea. I can only see huge history and political people really wanting to watch this movie multiple times.
Overall, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg are able to once again create a very solid war drama. Everything that makes the two great in their other films are all accounted for here and will please fans of both talents. This is the kind of film I appreciate and respect more than I actually enjoy. It is a great film, just not for me, unfortunately. I would still highly recommend this to everyone interested and to anyone who is looking for another great contender for the award season.