Visionary. The movie symbolizes why Hollywood is excellent at making non-fiction historical movies especially about the World War and the Cold War. With excellent story-telling and tension-building plot, Bridge of Spies was a perfect blend of puns, tension, suspense and thrill. And also it has Tom Hanks, that in itself mind blowing.
The movie starts with James Donovan (Played by Tom Hanks) completely whitewashing his opposing counsel in a case regarding some insurance claim. The movie quickly sets up the fact the cold war was at its peak by also showing an old man, a great painter who will later be identified as Rudolf Abel (Played by Mark Rylance) an alleged Soviet spy. James is given the case to defend him, to show the world that everyone in America gets a ‘fair’ trial. After James takes his case, his struggle in the district court goes onto show that dark underbelly of the judicial system existing at that point of time. And how the judge and jury already had decided the outcome of the case even before the case started. But James didn’t let this break his spirit and continued to fight for this Russian’s rights with all this knowledge and skill. He manages to convince the judge to give the punishment as life imprisonment instead of the electric chair, as it may present an opportunity for a trade in the near future for an American spy. And this is where the plot of the movie is established. This movie is a dual plot which coincides beautifully giving it a grand conclusion. The second plot is where a few officers of the USAF are selected for a highly classified mission to conduct surveillance and gather information about the Soviet nuclear weapons program. Francis Gary Powers (Played by Austin Stowell) is selected to conduct the surveillance and is flying over 70,000 feet in the infamous U-2 project when he and the classified plane he was in is shot down. Powers is then taken captive by the Soviets. On the Easter Berlin front an American student Fredric Pryor (Played by Will Rogers) is taken in custody under the charges of espionage. The movie grippingly revolves around the conspiracies of the Cold War, the grave effects of it on Germany and the will of a man to do true justice.
Steven Speilberg has given an air-tight masterpiece. His portrayal of the cold war is simply magnificent. He uses various symbolic elements to set up the gravity of the cold war; when James is travelling from West Berlin to East Berlin via the S station train, he sees a family trying to cross over the wall and get shot down in the process. And in the climax scenes of the movie, we see James travelling in a train back home and he sees children cross over fences exactly like the family but without any grave consequences. One can vicariously feel the tension, the exhaustion and the stress James as a lawyer and as a human went through during his time in Germany. But the most inspirational part of the movie was his Supreme Court speech. It was simply moving and it couldn’t have been delivered any better. The kind of persecution a man was dealt from his own people, public defamation to attacking his family, James braved it all and put everything on the line to ensure no wrong was done and believed that “Every man matters.”
Tom Hanks has given an Oscar worthy performance. He keeps pushing the limits of his talent as an actor that it is almost like he was there to experience it first hand. The movie is a perfect balance of non-fiction and fiction. The legal aspect simply stood out for me probably because I am a law student and it just appealed to me as movies rarely signify this aspect as much as this movie did. Steven Speilberg hasn’t given us a movie, he has given us an untold story worth telling to every soul who believes in justice. Bridge of Spies is a powerful dialogue thriller, with a powerful blend of action, puns and symbolism and is the must catch for the month. And if I told you that this movie may inspire you to become a lawyer or maybe a better human being, would it help?
My rating for Bridge of Spies: 9.3/10
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