Bridge of Spies

Directed by Steven Spielberg, US, 2015

Spielberg has gone on a bit of a minimalist streak lately – well if a “streak” consists of three films.  Lincoln (2012) and Bridge of Spies (2015) could work well as stage plays.  War Horse (2011) is a stage play, although both adaptations come from the same novel.  In any event, for the time being the man who popularized the summer, special effects blockbuster has set visual effects aside in favor of character driven drama.

That isn’t to say that Bridge of Spies lacks compelling imagery – it is a compelling and magnificently shot film.  Period pieces and thrillers are notoriously difficult to shoot, and Spielberg makes it look easy.  Even if you are familiar with the back story of the U2 Incident (not to be confused with the U2 album “Songs of Innocence”), the film is suspenseful and intense.

Tom Hanks will get another Oscar nod for his role as real life attorney turned international negotiator, James B. Donovan.  Donovan reluctantly agrees to defend a Soviet spy in the mid 1950’s.   His work as an attorney draws criticism from his family and community, and eventually puts him in the dangerous position of negotiating a resolution to the infamous U2 Incident.

Overall, if you like spy movies, thrillers, Steven Spielberg, or Tom Hanks, go check this one out.

You might like Bridge of Spies if: You want to see a well executed Cold War spy movie.

You might not like Bridge of Spies if: You know everything about the U2 Incident and don’t want or need to see a movie about it.

(c) 2015 D.G. McCabe