An American lawyer is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union.
Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg collaborate once again in the newest film Bridge of Spies which takes place post-WW2 during the cold war. Alongside Hanks and Spielberg are writers Matt Charman and the Coen Brothers Ethan and Joel all bringing this film together. With all that talent going into the film, it’s difficult to imagine the result will be anything other than great.
Bridge of Spies is a superbly written film, it weaves its various plots and sub-plots seamlessly together constructing an intriguing film to watch. Condensing enough content that could probably span two films Bridge of Spies rarely feels abridged, and it makes the most of every second of screen time with what was likely a ruthless editing process that has produced a patiently paced but tight film.
One of the highlights of Bridge of Spies is the strategic use of dialogue and the verbal tactics employed by the main characters in the film, it’s brilliant to watch and something that requires your attention lest you miss some of the many subtleties and quick plot elements that have been written in.
Overall the story might be pretty straight forward, but there are a myriad of angles that have been worked in with short term deviations that are always of relevance to the main events. The general world building in terms of the sets and a detailed focus on the environment surrounding the characters really sets the mood and atmosphere of the film, making it very immersive.
Despite its lengthy running time I could have easily spent more time with these characters, there are so many aspects here that could have been drawn out further which still would have been interesting, but at the cost of something else. There’s a fine balance that Speilberg has for the most part managed it here, and this is maintained until the credits roll.
Spielberg being Spielberg however, it’s almost certain that there will be a few contrived moments that seem a bit out of place or overly nostalgic and Bridge of Spies is no different. Fortunately this is mostly reserved for the closing minutes of the film so while it’s not much of a dampener on the experience, it does result in a few groan inducing moments that the film would have finished stronger without.
In a film like this Tom Hanks’s performance is starting to feel pretty predictable, and you’re not going to find anything here you haven’t already seen but it’s still brilliant, and compelling, and a joy to watch, it’s just not anything different – but that’s a nit-pick. Hanks is working with a solid supporting cast as well, particularly Mark Rylance who humanises his part effectively, and Mikhail Gorevoy who was a highlight in playing off against Hanks in a number of scenes.
Bridge of Spies is an easy film to recommend, it’s interesting, well-constructed, effectively balanced and it would have been easy to keep watching these characters with a bit more detail during the events early on.
I’m giving it 8 out of 10 stars, you can see Bridge of Spies in cinemas around Australia from 22nd October 2015.