Defending an enemy, an individual that the public despise, in a court of law is a thankless task; however this was made more difficult by James Donovan, because he was so good at his job and was dedicated to doing “the right thing”. James Donovan, played by Tom Hanks, admirably completed his task of defending a Soviet spy, Rudolf Abel, played by Mark Rylance. James stuck by the book and refused to treat Rudolf any differently to any other client he has worked for.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, this is in essence a film of two halves, the first half showing James defending the arrested soviet spy, showing the looks of disgust and the worrying acts against him and his family for taking on this case. The second half is about how James was roped into facilitating an exchange of the Soviet spy for an American spy plane pilot captured by the Soviets, Francis Powers, played by Austin Stowell.
This movie is an intense and insightful drama that focuses more on a historical and legal view of this event within the Cold War, as opposed to a feature focussing on the action and the drama. Not that this takes away from the quality of this movie at all, the acting throughout by all parties is good, the cinematography is stylish and the story is interesting. It’s hard to think of many, if any, good movies focusing on this sort of occurrence at this sort of time. The topic is very original.
Overall, the movie is good, but sadly that is all. Just good. Nothing more. It lacks the “wow” factor. Tom Hanks by no doubt has the ability to be incredible, just look at the final scene of Captain Phillips! There wasn’t anything in Bridge of Spies that showed off his skill, nothing that left me impressed and that’s the same for all other aspects of the movie. Yes everything about it was good, but that’s the thing, the whole package was just good. It didn’t sparkle in the same way that previous Spielberg movies have before.
Would I see this movie again? Yes, absolutely. It is an interesting movie and does have an interesting story; there was just nothing that made it the pinnacle of someone’s career or the definition of greatness.