By Linley McCord
This is a war movie that will test your nerves similar to “Saving Private Ryan,” but with a twist of actually liking more characters than you dislike. “Bridge of Spies” is Tom Hanks at his very best and will leave you wishing to know the character personally.
When the FBI captures a man believed to be a Russian spy, insurance lawyer Jim Donovan (Hanks) is called in to defend him as an act of goodwill – and to show the Soviet Union that America practices due process of law. Obviously, the American public is less than thrilled at the idea of a US citizen defending a spy and Donovan receives a decent amount of prosecution from his peers. But when an American pilot is captured in the USSR, Donovan is called back in to the situation to arrange a trade: Russian spy for American pilot.
You’ll follow a few different plots that intermingle and converge with one another, creating a really interesting and engaging dynamic. It shows a deeper look at how the US government handled Cold War affairs, how the American people reacted, and how political battles were fought in office rooms.
It’s definitely a movie you have to pay attention to for the entire two and a half hours because dialog is quick, but it doesn’t feel like a chore. While there are very few big plot moments, no dramatic twists, the story is gripping from beginning to end.
The cast of characters is pretty incredible. Tom Hanks does an amazing job of being the collected and poised lawyer, even amidst layers of government bureaucracy – both stateside and in East Berlin. There are no clear-cut enemies and it’s hard to trust anyone (including FBI officials) because everyone feels a little bit like a snake in the grass. The tension is real and you bond quickly with almost every character, even the Russian spy.
It is, to put it mildly, a must-see.
“Bridge of Spies” earns a 9/10 and is rated PG13 for language and mild violence.