Bridge of Spies - Review

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Bridge of Spies is dangling on the precipice of something great. A war drama with a focus on drama, Steven Spielberg's latest outing slips us into the musty boots of James Donovan (Tom Hanks), but does this war flick deliver the drama promised to us by legendary director Steven Spielberg?

Plot

The central plot of Bridge of Spies is explained to us in the trailers, and it plays out pretty much exactly how the trailers show. The biggest win with Bridge of Spies is its courtroom-drama first hour, which invokes the greatness of other films such as Lincoln and All the President's Men. However, the film forgets that winning formula in its second hour which puts Donovan into a more secret agent type role, even though he was just established as a wise-cracking man of his word. This doesn't make sense. It feels as if James Bond had been a secret agent his whole life and was then suddenly a desk job paper-pusher. 

Performances

Tom Hanks is tasked with leading this film, which is one of Spielberg's many mistakes. Tom Hanks isn't a bad actor, and he gives a decent performance with the script he is given, but there is simply no supporting cast for him to fall back on. The Russian spy that the film is centered around has many scenes alone and with Hanks, but he never becomes anything more than a crude stereotype. Hanks's wife, played by Amy Ryan (Holly from The Office) is also a confusing character. During Hank's long stay in Berlin, it seems that their marriage is being seriously hurt by all of the lying and distance, but when Hanks returns everything appears to be back to normal.

Style

Bridge of Spies is arguably Spielberg's blandest film aesthetically, not at all recognizing the beauty of the Cold War era. The sets and costumes all look authentic, but it never dares to try anything unique. Also, a strange amount of washed out backgrounds are present. See if you can count how many you find.

Summary

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg's latest film Bridge of Spies is at times a riveting courtroom drama, and at others a bland spy thriller with boring characters and a confusing plot. Hopefully this film doesn't taint the unbelievable true story of James Donovan and his awe-inspiring life.

Pros- Interesting subject matter, 1st hour is stellar

Cons- Lifeless supporting cast, drab aesthetically, 2nd hour is mediocre at best