Film of the Day (03/12/19): Bridge of Spies


Written By Matt Charman and Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Directed By Steven Spielberg

Whether or not you love all of his work, you can’t deny the career of Steven Spielberg. He has been producing good-to-great films for over forty years, over a range of genres. He has spent much of the last two decades directing what could be called “Oscar bait,” but even if that is the niche he has settled into, it’s not a bad one. This is another in a line of quality movies that he had made with the ever-reliable Tom Hanks in the lead role as attorney James Donovan. It starts as a legal drama, but the courtroom scenes quickly give way to an espionage thriller that serves its Cold War era setting very well. Hanks is a great choice for this part, coming across as the perfect guy to lewdlnegotiations between powerful people with agendas to carry out. Mark Rylance is superb as convicted Russian spy Rudolf Abel, who quietly becomes friendly with Donovan throughout the trial and subsequent attempt at a prisoner exchange. The cast all turns in good work in a movie that speaks loudly and proudly of American values during an era when they were under assault. Questions of morality come into play during the course of negotiations, which serve to further drive home the point of what truly makes us Americans. As films of its nature should, it builds its tension well, culminating in a great climax and denouement. Spielberg and Hanks have done it again.

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