THRILLER; 2hr 21min
STARRING: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Austin Stowell, Amy Ryan
Cold case: Hanks
In 1957, in the heat of the Cold War, Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (a distinctive Rylance) is arrested in Brooklyn and attorney James Donovan (Hanks) is appointed to defend him. At the same time, US Air Force pilot Francis Gary Powers (Stowell) is seconded by the CIA to glean Soviet Union intel from the air.
These two events don’t seem connected right away in director Steven Spielberg’s elegant and absorbing chapter of modern history. In establishing Donovan’s penetrating mind, keen sense of fair play and general American uprightness, along with the volatile climate in which he exercises them, screenwriters Matt Charman and Joel and Ethan Coen take a long and winding view. Its angles click when Powers plummets from the sky into a world of trouble and, as Donovan has shrewdly predicted, the imprisoned Abel becomes a valuable trading commodity.
Who better to embody the soul of decency on a stormy, Kafkaesque canvas than past masters Hanks and Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, The Terminal, Catch Me If You Can)? Splicing tension with strategy, Bridge of Spies is a doozy procedural and a slam-dunk case for a level head in the collective faces of crazy odds.