"Bridge of Spies"
Release Date: Oct. 16, 2015
Running Time: 141 minutes
Bridge of Spies, which marks the fourth film collaboration between Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg, offers an affecting personal response to the tough negotiations of the 1962 prisoner swap between the United States, the Soviet Union, and East Germany. Hanks exudes confidence and moral supremacy as James B. Donovan, the insurance lawyer who was first tasked with defending accused Soviet spy Rudolf Abel and then arranging for the exchange of his client for two captured Americans, pilot Francis Gary Powers and economics student Frederic L. Pryor. Boasting an eloquent script co-written by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, this uncompromising Cold War-era thriller finds Spielberg placing his faith in an American justice system that calls for fair treatment for even suspected enemies of the state, even if it goes against popular opinion. Spielberg draws some parallels between the Cold War and the current War on Terror in regards to the legalities of the Abel case but Spielberg’s keenly aware of the fundamental difference between a foreign-born spy gathering information and a terrorist out to kill hundreds and thousands of Americans and non-Americans. Spielberg ratchets up the tension in both the courtroom proceedings that take place in the hustle bustle of New York and the backroom negotiations that Donovan engages in a bitter-cold East Berlin with Soviets and East German officials. He also tackles both the truth and the propaganda to be found in the Red Menace campaign of the late 1950s and 1960s before turning his attention to the social, political and economic impact of the decision to build the Berlin Wall. At the heart of Bridge of Spies is the interaction between Donovan and Abel. Mark Rylance sets the tone for Bridge of Spies with a quiet performance as the spy who accepts his fate with dignity and honor. In contrast to the straight-talking Donovan, Rylance’s Abel says only what he needs to say, which requires both Donovan and the audience to read between lines. Regardless, the respectful relationship that develops between Donovan and Abel serves as the driving force behind Bridge of Spies, which believes words pack as much power as any weapon of mass destruction employed during a time of war.
Aired: Oct. 15, 2015
Web site: http://bridgeofspies.com/