Bridge of Spies—2hrs 21 mins/directed by Steven Spielberg/ screenplay written by Matt Charman, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen/starring Tom Hanks,Mark Rylance/Alan Alda/music Thomas Newman/ PG-13
Bifocal Reviews written by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy
(BR): This movie was intriguing. Any movie that is based on a true story always gets my attention. The generation where this takes place is without the technology that is familiar today. Bridge of Spies takes you back to a time when simple communication methods were used, which only made the movie more exciting and realistic. Things like not having a cell phone at your disposal, waiting for the phone to ring, running from and to phone booths and the sound of air raid sirens brought back waves of a strange nostalgia. Tom Hanks, playing the good guy was very convincing, as usual. Playing the real life James Donovan (his memoir is the basis for this film) he defended a real life enemy of the state, but the old fashioned “everyone deserves a fair trial” attitude that seems to have also gone by the wayside. In fact, James Donovan received a lot of opposition for his defense stance, but in the end his methods were not only kind, but successful in achieving the ultimate goal, which was the exchange. Donovan was eventually given the credit for being the hero that he deserved. I give this movie four out of five binoculars, and wished I had seen Bridge of Spies long before and in place of four or five other loudly touted films which did not live up to a Best Picture standard, but are also nominated.
(OG): I guess I should not be surprised that Steven Spielberg, with Thomas Newman music, a script co-written by the Coen brothers with Matt Charman and starring actors of Tom Hanks’ caliber would be an Oscar contender, but somehow this movie snuck up on me. I never saw this Best Picture contender coming. This was billed as a Soviet Cold War thriller that lacked any special effects or attempts to bombard the senses with chase scenes or mind numbing explosions. Hanks plays an insurance lawyer who is picked to first defend a communist spy in the midst of Soviet/Nuclear hysteria, then negotiate a very complicated prisoner exchange. He tries to convince everyone, including the audience that he is NOT the right man for either job. By the end of the film, however, you cannot see how anyone else but he could have accomplished either task. As for the script, I liked especially how doing the right thing took precedent over political-expediency and in the end, everyone wins. I give this film five binoculars out of five.