Bridge of Spies is one of those movies that I liked much better the second time around. On paper, this has everything that I should love in a movie. It is a movie directed by Steven Spielberg, based on a script by The Coen Brothers and it stars Tom Hanks! That is one hell of a dream team right there!
How to Download Bridge of Spies
Bridge of Spies was released on October 16, 2015. You can download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. If you like Tom Hanks, you need to also see Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, You’ve Got Mail, The Green Mile, Cast Away, The Terminal, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, Cloud Atlas, Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. Banks, Sully, Inferno, The Post, News of the World, Elvis, or A Man Called Otto.
The Movie Review
Reevaluating the Movie’s Genre
However, I remember seeing this in the theatre during opening weekend and left feeling disappointed. I went into this thinking that it was a Cold War spy thriller, but that is not what it was. Granted, you could say that it was my fault for not realizing what kind of movie I was going to be watching, but there was just something off about it for me.
The reason I am saying this is that if I had known that Bridge of Spies was more of a war drama than a war thriller, I am sure I would have liked it much more. This is what happened when I watched it again recently, I knew it was not so much a thriller, but more of a drama and I actually really enjoyed it.
The True Story Behind Bridge of Spies
It is based on a true story. Tom Hanks plays a lawyer called James B Donavan. James is tasked with representing Soviet spy Rudolf Abel. James takes his job very seriously and despite the huge Cold War drama and hysteria at the time, he persuades them to not give Rudolf the death penalty. He reasons that they may be able to find Rudolf useful at some point during these tense times with Russia.
Turns out that James was right! American pilot Gary Powers is testing a new kind of aircraft and is shot down by the U.S.S.R. This scene is actually the only bit of action that Bridge of Spies has. Gary is held captive by the U.S.S.R. and the Americans want to get him back.
The Tensions and Twists of a War Drama
James ends up getting a rather interesting letter in the mail asking him to contact a German lawyer called Vogel. The US thinks that they must want to arrange a prisoner swap between Rudolf and James and they task James with going to Berlin to oversee this. That right there is pretty much what the movie is about, this prisoner swap and the tensions that come with it. However, there is a twist and it does not go the way that the US thinks it will.
As a war drama movie, Bridge of Spies is very well done. The second time I watched this I really appreciated the performance of Mark Rylance as Rudolf Abel, he is fantastic! All of the cast deliver very believable performances. I also have to say that the drama and abuse that James and his family got as a result of defending a Soviet spy was something that the movie did very well.
Final Thoughts on Bridge of Spies
I am glad that I decided to give this movie a second chance when I saw it on DVD for the price of £2 as it was so much better than I remember it being. Yes, this has a slow start and most of the movie is just people talking. However, if you get into it, the tension and the performances get you very invested in what is happening. Give this one a try, but it is 100 percent, not the kind of movie you can be messing around on your phone while watching.
- Mark Rylance is incredible
- Tom Hanks is great as he always is
- This is a very well told war drama story
- Despite not having any real action, the movie manages to be very tense
- The slow pace of the movie may not click with some people
- The sound mix on the DVD I watched was not great, some of the dialogue was way too quiet