Bridge of Spies – Movie Review

Bridge of SpiesBridge of Spies – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 16 Oct 2015

Bridge of Spies is a dramatization of a cold war prisoner exchange facilitated by Brooklyn attorney James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) directed by Steven Spielberg.

The film looks great and does a great job of invoking several locations in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s from Donovan’s home and offices in New York, to both sides of the recently erected wall between east and west Berlin. It also tries to varying degrees of success to show the difference between East Germany and the Soviet Union at large as Donovan has to balance the exchange separately with both parties without offending the other.

The problem comes down to a lack of palpable tension. Donovan is the only character we spend significant time with and we never feel particularly worried about him. There is very little action or even suspense here. It boils down to a lot of men sitting in rooms negotiating with one another. It is occasionally funny, but the only consistent laugh comes from what amounts to a catchphrase by the Soviet spy in the exchange that is set up during an extensive opening sequence of the spy’s sham of a trial with Donovan defending him according to United States rule of law.

It’s a shame that the movie could never quite put enough tension, heart or humor on the screen. I don’t feel particularly smarter about the era or the incident for having watched it making it hard to recommend at 141 minutes.

Aaron, Chris, Mark and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car:


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