Bridge Of Spies
On Monday evening, I saw an advance screening of the new Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks movie, Bridge Of Spies. There were two things that really surprised me about this screening.
- Almost no one was there. Advance screening are usually popular events, yet the theater was maybe half-full at most.
- The thing I enjoyed most out of this movie was the sense of humor injected into it.
The basic plot of the movie, which is based on true events, is that James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is an insurance lawyer who is chosen to represent alleged Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) in a “fair trial” for the charges of being a Soviet spy. Everyone expects Donovan to go through the motions, doing minimal work as a court-appointed lawyer for someone the entire country thinks is guilty of his charges. Donovan is a man who takes his job seriously though, and actually tries in court. This leads to Donovan being chosen as a US representative with no official ties to the US government to negotiate a prisoner swap, giving Abel back to the Soviets in exchange for captured US pilot Francis Gary Powers.
While Hanks gives a fine performance, I believe Rylance’s performance as Rudolf Abel is the standout of the movie. His matter-of-fact, dry sense of humor is exactly what was needed to keep me interested in a movie that for a large part is a bunch of men sitting around talking. Hanks and a few others have some good dry quips as well, but Rylance’s are by far the best in the movie.
My only real disappointment in the movie was Amy Ryan as Mary Donovan (Jame’s wife). I love Amy Ryan. She has excellent range as a dramatic and comedic actress, going from things like The Wire to The Office. There’s simply nothing for her to do with her role in Bridge Of Spies though. Mary is a pretty generic supporting character, with minimum screen time, that really could have been played by anyone. If I had to guess, I would say that she jumped at the opportunity to to be involved in a Steven Spielberg-directed movie, being able to share the screen with Tom Hanks, even though the role is minimal. Who wouldn’t want to work with some of the most respected people in the film industry?
The only other thing that really stuck out to me in this film was that everyone seemed to have a cold. There was kind of a ridiculous amount of people pulling out handkerchiefs and wiping their noses. After a while, I started to find it a bit distracting.
Bridge Of Spies is a good, but not great movie. If it’s a subject that you really enjoy, by all means see it in the theater. Despite it being a dramatic film about a serious topic, you’ll likely be surprised at how much you find yourself laughing in the theater, which is an unexpected treat from it.
Bridge Of Spies opens in theaters on Friday, October 16th.