Cert: 12A Runtime: 141 mins Director: Steven Spielberg Cast: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Austin Stowell, Jesse Plemmons, Amy Ryan, Will Rogers and Dakin Matthews
We have to have the conversations our governments can’t
Steven Spielberg is a man that I will always refer to my first director. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s you are surrounded by his work. But for me he hasn’t been on the greatest run of form for some time, the last good Spielberg film was Munich. Bridge of Spies is his latest film and yet another collaboration with the James Stewart of our generation Tom Hanks. It has received good feedback all round so I was anticipating a return to form here. So what is Bridge of Spies about? During the Cold War, the Soviet Union captures U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after shooting down his U-2 spy plane. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, Powers’ only hope is New York lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks), recruited by a CIA operative to negotiate his release. Donovan boards a plane to Berlin, hoping to win the young man’s freedom through a prisoner exchange. If all goes well, the Russians would get Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), the convicted spy who Donovan defended in court.
Bridge of Spies has a steady focus on character and dialogue, and Spielberg never deviates from that making the movie emotionally effective.The reason why Bridge of Spies manages to work so well is largely due to Spielberg’s direction and handling of the story. This movie has a very traditional narrative style, a lot of details to cover and mostly dialogue to keep it going. So, it is a testament to Spielberg as to how he manages to make this movie so engaging. The dialogue in this movie is captivatingly written. If the dialogue in this movie were not first- rate, this movie could have been an absolute bore. But the Coen Brothers and Matt Charman support Spielberg’s near perfect direction with one of the most engaging dialogue. The dialogue is crisp, emotionally stirring and filled with humour.
Mark Rylance may be the hot contender for supporting actor during awards season. He is so magnificently restrained, lovable and understated that it is a joy to watch whenever he is on screen. He gets some of the stand-out dialogue and he delivers every single time. Now to Tom Hanks, when does he ever make a bad film? In Bridge of Spies he manages to shine through yet again Spielberg brings the best out of Hanks. What intrigued me was the genuine bond between Rylance’s character and Hank’s character. The two of them share a few scenes together and complement each other. Amy Ryan gets some limited screen time but manages to fill those with great emotional subtlety. She adds a significant amount of emotional heft to the movie. However, the movie rests a lot on the shoulders of Hanks and Rylance. This is a true return to form for Steven Spielberg it may not win many awards but I’m sure it will end up highly in his greatest hits.