Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies


Steven Spielberg directs this Cold War spy drama, co-written by the Coen brothers. Tom Hanks is a Brooklyn lawyer recruited by the CIA for a near-impossible task: negotiating the release of an American pilot detained by the Soviet Union. Based on the 1960 U-2 incident in which pilot Francis Gary Powers - who was shot down over Soviet land - was released in exchange for a captive KGB spy held under the custody of the United States.

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Flicks Review

The prospect of seeing Steven Spielberg sink his teeth into the Cold War is an enticing one indeed, but although Bridge of Spies contains a couple of tense set-pieces, it is much more focused on being a character drama than a period thriller.... More

Bifurcated almost exactly in two, the first half of the film follows Hanks' civilian lawyer James Donovan as he is assigned to defend accused Russian spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance). The second half follows Donovan to East Berlin, where he attempts to negotiate the exchange of Abel for a downed American airman.

Although handsomely mounted (the muted '50s technicolour aesthetic is particularly appealing) and populated by subtle performances, both sections of the film suffer from Spielberg's characters' tendency to repeatedly articulate the themes explored by the film.

Lacking any discernible shades of grey, Donovan is as pure a picture of Hanksian decency as there has ever been. Rylance's intense stillness renders Abel somewhat unknowable, but he affects tangible chemistry with Donovan.

A noticeably male-centric film, the female characters here have very little to do. As Donovan's wife, Amy Ryan serves up food and furrows her brow. Eve Hewson (Bono's daughter!) commands the camera as Donovan's teenage daughter, but only has about three scenes.

Although there's a broadness to the proceedings betrayed by the painfully generic title, Spielberg's fundamental skills as a director keep Bridge of Spies afloat.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 14 ratings, 8 reviews
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BY Hugo-Burns superstar

A very entertaining and wonderfully performed film from Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg once again. With a run time of 141 minutes I was expecting it to drag and become rather boring but luckily I was mistaken. Tom Hanks once again is magnificent and has exceptional delivery of his script which was written by the Coen Brothers which surprised me when the credits started up. The films faults come in however when the film deviates from Tom Hanks and focuses on other characters sub plots which... More while entertaining to watch, do feel like a major shift from Tom Hanks and therefore becomes a little inconsistent with pacing and tone. This clears up however, after the 2nd act and what we are left with is a tense and dramatic thriller that I'm sure the academy will absolutely adore. Also the cinematography is fine with some exceptionally well shot scenes and the film is ilmed with a certain glow through windows etc that add to the modd of the late 50's and early 60's allowing more immersion to occur.Hide

BY Gaspardation superstar

Very Academy and very Spielberg. I just wonder that kind of patriotism is too much of a biase by itself.

BY Geronimo superstar

I really enjoyed this it is a good historical spy drama. I have found it worth going to each Spielberg movie as he generally delivers. If you are looking for explosions and lots of gunfire you will be disappointed. If you enjoy good suspenseful drama that is well acted and directed (with a good narrative) then go see this.

BY Mel superstar

A spy film in the tradition of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, with an unashamedly 'Murrican sensibility, this inspired-by-true-events Cold War drama is also a total masterclass in filmmaking from Steven Spielberg and regular DP Janusz Kaminski - not to mention the Coen brothers' contribution to the screenplay: their trademark brand of sardonic humour, combined with Spielberg-ian grace notes makes for an irresistible combination that frankly should make every film student weep.

Kudos also to Tom... More Hanks - it's not a showy part, but this is easily his best performance since Captain Phillips. He brings all the wit, charm and integrity we all know and love, but it's often the quieter moments that really shine - witness his reaction when viewing a item he's been given on his trip home... beautiful.Hide

BY yorkedm nobody

Spielberg is so great at creating the look and feel of other times and places, in this case the US and East Germany at the height of the Cpld War. A thoroughly absorbing script, and great actors make his one of his best.

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The Press Reviews

93% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Has a brassy and justified confidence in its own narrative flair. Full Review

  • A handsome and mature entertainment, rich with novelistic intrigue, that asks for very little in exchange for its rewards. Full Review

  • A deeply satisfying Cold War spy thriller that feels more subdued than usual for the director... Full Review

  • An absorbing true-life espionage tale very smoothly handled by old pros who know what they're doing. Full Review

  • While the helmer’s myth-making approach makes for great Capra-esque entertainment, younger auds may find it terribly old-fashioned... Full Review

  • A consummate professional's tribute to a gifted amateur, a smooth entertainment with a strong but subtle political subtext that's both potent and unexpected. Full Review

  • Like most of Mr. Spielberg's films, a consummate entertainment that sweeps you up with pure cinema. Full Review

  • Entertaining and thought provoking... gives real historical events a human face, and rates as a surprising crowd pleaser in the process. Full Review

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