An Exceptional Noirish Cold War Thriller.
This film pours out just as many great lines as it does whisky, starring Tom Hanks as James B. Donovan an insurance lawyer who sets out to defend a suspected Russian spy. Hanks, no doubt helped by the brilliantly realised Cold War setting of the 1960’s is proof that not all great actors end up in starring in increasingly nauseating kids films.
Instead, this is a war film for people who don’t usually go see war movies. Previously, the Cold War had left me…well cold. This film snuck up on me like a detective in the shadows, One minute the characters are innocently snacking on Peanut Butter and Apples (me neither) the next gunshots are ringing out and planes falling from the sky.
There’s so much to Bridge of Spies that even the background characters don’t feel like extras, despite featuring only a handful of action scenes, I was left locked up in a sort of cinema gulag, impressive since it runs for a bladder punishing 141 minutes.
While I was pacing this cell, I was looking for even a wrinkle, just some sign that Steven Spielberg wasn’t still some sort of Extra Terrestrial force of pure filmmaking. This is one of those thrillers that will be shown not only to film students, but in history class to give kids a glimpse at how the political world operated in the 60’s. The most surprising thing about it is that it’s all based on a true story which has led to many nights hunting for information on the real life inspirations.
The only criticism I could possibly give the film is that it doesn’t show many women or ethnic minorities in a position of power, which given the era is hardly surprising. Still Tom Hank’s character is relatable to anyone of any gender or race. This is a film that deliberately keeps the cast list small in order to prevent the plot blowing up in a mushroom cloud.
When I first read a synopsis of the film, I’d ducked and covered from all what all the ‘straight’ people were doing in the era, focusing mainly on the hippie movements and great music. This film goes to show that more often than not, the true heroes are not putting flowers in their hair, but putting on a suit and tie.