Bridge of Spies opened on this date in 2015. The Steven Spielberg directed film stars Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance. Bridge of Spies is based on a true story.
Bridge of Spies takes place during the Cold War and centers on American lawyer James B. Donovan, played by Tom Hanks. James B. Donovan must defend a captured Soviet Spy in court—which ultimately puts his life in danger with Americans who don’t believe the Russian spy deserves a defense. Donovan then has to orchestrate a trade for an American pilot that has been captured by using his Russian client. Mark Rylance plays the Soviet spy that ultimately forms a bond with Donovan.
- Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance are both spectacular in the film. Rylance won Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards for his performance in Bridge of Spies and it was well deserved.
- Steven Spielberg does an amazing job of building tension in the film, as he always does, but in Bridge of Spies he isn’t using his usual tricks. There are no man eating sharks or terrifying dinosaurs in the film to help build suspense. There is very little violence in Bridge of Spies and the level of tension it achieves is more impressive because of it.
- Spielberg continues his tradition of tackling true life historical stories and making them not feel like a history lesson. Just like Munich and Saving Private Ryan before it, Bridge of Spies never feels like school, it is an entertaining film that showcases a still relevant story from our past.
- There are a few subplots that take Hanks and Rylance off screen for large chunks of the film and Bridge of Spies suffers in those moments.
- The pacing at times becomes way too slow.
- The film is probably 15-20 minutes too long.
Bridge of Spies is definitely a worthy installment into the Spielberg library. The lead performances, story and execution are all impressive and well done. The film isn’t as tight and cohesive as Spielberg directed films usually are, hurting the overall product. Less characters, subplots and a shortened runtime could have put this film in the upper echelon of Spielberg’s filmography. As it stands, Bridge of Spies is a solid spy drama that is carried by its director and stars.