Review by Austin Clemen
Bridge of Spies is a movie directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks. In the movie, Tom Hanks plays an insurance lawyer who is really good at his job and because of that, he is asked to be the defense lawyer for a Russian spy captured in America by some Federal Agents because they want it to seem like America’s justice system is fair to everyone who goes on trial by giving the spy a good lawyer. Now, Tom Hanks’ character, James B. Donovan, actually believes that the justice system needs to be fair and that everyone deserves a chance to defend themselves and is actually innocent until proven guilty. But this trial is actually only like the first quarter or first third of the movie. The majority of this movie is that after the trial, the CIA learns one of their spies has been captured by Russia and they need someone who has no title in the government to negotiate a trade between the countries for each of the spies.
The way Spielberg directed Bridge of Spies speaks volumes. He was able to manipulate camera movement and the actor positions in multiple scenes to make it seem like multiple shots when really, they were one shot takes or one shot scenes. He even added a slight film grain to every shot, which helped to make me feel like I was actually there. The performances in the movie were spot on. You can really tell that Tom Hanks’ character is a fish out of water in the situations he’s put in, but he does his absolute best, which is probably better than what anyone else could have done at the time. The actor who plays the Russian spy, Mark Rylance, does such a great job, as well. I actually started to feel for his character and almost forgot he was a soviet spy.
The dialogue in this movie is fabulous, which it should be, considering this is a dialogue driven movie. There’s a scene where Tom Hanks is being followed by someone and then he stops to talk to the guy in a bar or club and Hanks’ character just absolutely owns him with his words in a witty and pretty funny manner. That brings me to another point, this movie has some great, perfectly timed comedy thrown in there to sort of ease the tension at just the right moments so that we don’t get bored with the movie. There’s multiple times throughout the movie where Tom Hanks’ lawyer says something to Mark Rylance’s Russian spy along the lines of, “Are you even the least bit scared?”
The spy then responds with, “Would it help?”
Those lines are so good and make me look at him, see how calm he is, and think that I should learn to be that calm because it would make life that much better. All in all, from my own perspective, I would give the movie a 9.3 out of 10, but because of the fact that it is a dialogue driven movie, with little to no action, I will have to critically give it an 8.8 since a majority of your average movie goers dislike movies like that or tend to not like them as much.