Bridge of Spies Review

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This week, my husband and I enjoyed checking out a sneak preview of Bridge of Spies, which will be opening to the public on October 16th.  This Steven Spielberg movie is a historical drama and spy thriller, based on the 1960 U-2 incident during the Cold War between the United States the then Soviet Union. 

Bridge of Spies revolves around James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks), an insurance lawyer selected to represent a possible Soviet spy in court named Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance).   Through his dedicated work for Rudolf Abel, Donovan catches the attention and respect of CIA leadership and is selected for a mission to negotiate the release of CIA operative and pilot, Francis Gary Powers, from Soviet detention.b2ap3_thumbnail_bridge-of-spies-movie.jpg

Since the movie opens with Donovan being selected to represent Abel, we really enjoyed a great courtroom drama in this first part.  There are snippets that indicate what was happening with Powers and how he got into Soviet hands as preparation for the trial, the trial, and sentencing are going on, but this still didn’t quite prepare us for what felt like a sudden shift from the trial to Donovan’s new role as negotiator.  Despite this confusing transition, Hanks does a great job playing the normal guy in a very abnormal situation, who has to seek the truth in all the twisted double-speak and political posturing between countries. 

We enjoyed and were very intrigued by the story; so much so that we would watch Bridge of Spies again.  The film extensively tries to recreate the look and feel of the United States and East Germany during 1957-1962, especially in the remnants of World War II destruction that still remained in East Berlin.  Some scenes seemed like strong parallels to today’s domestic and international climate, including school “duck and cover” drills, which only added more fodder for an interesting bit of late-night conversation.  The story inspired us to look for other books and movies about James Donovan and the U-2 incident. 

We recommend Bridge of Spies as a great date-night movie for those who love history, spy thrillers, and stories where nice guys come out on top. 

Just a word of advice for you as you plan your own date night and make babysitter arrangements: this movie is 2 hours and 21 minutes.  We were a little later getting home than we thought we would be!

A dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of a series of historic events, DreamWorks Pictures/Fox 2000 Pictures’ “Bridge of Spies” is the story of James Donovan, a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible task to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. Screenwriters Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen have woven this remarkable experience in Donovan’s life into a story inspired by true events that captures the essence of a man who risked everything and vividly brings his personal journey to life.

Directed by three-time Academy Award®-winning director Steven Spielberg, “Bridge of Spies” stars: two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks as James Donovan; three-time Tony Award® winner Mark Rylance as Rudolf Abel, a KGB agent defended by Donovan; Scott Shepherd as CIA operative Hoffman; Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan as James’ wife, Mary; Sebastian Koch as East German lawyer Vogel; and Academy Award nominee Alan Alda as Thomas Watters, a partner at Donovan’s law firm. The film is produced by Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger with Adam Somner, Daniel Lupi, Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Matt Charman and three-time Academy Award winners Ethan Coen & Joel Coen. “Bridge of Spies” will be released in theaters on October 16, 2015 from Touchstone Pictures.


Rating:  PG-13