Sunday, 6 December 2015
Bridge of Spies film review
Went to see this movie on Tuesday with my friend Aj at the Leeds/Bradford Odeon.
IMDB says: During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
In this Steven Spielberg (Schindler's List, Catch Me If You Can) directed and Matt Charman (Suite Francaise, Our Zoo), Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men, Fargo) and Joel Coen (the Big Lebowski, True Grit) written film starring Tom Hanks (Philadelphia, Forrest Gump) as James B. Donovan, the lawyer recruited to defend arrested Soviet Spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance, The Other Boleyn Girl, Intimacy) by his boss Thomas Waters Jnr (Alan Alda: M*A*S*H, The Aviator).
Not intimidated by Agent Blasco (Domenick Lombardozzi: The Wire, Phone Booth), Agent Gamber (Victor Verhaeghe: The Wolf of Wall Street, August Rush) or the risk to his reputation, he takes the case working to best defend a man who everyone wants to see punished.
He risks his family, wife Mary (Amy Ryan: Escape Plan, Win Win or Holly Flax from TVs The Office), daughter Carol (Eve Hewson:This Must be the Place, Enough Said) who is nearly shot, son Roger (Noah Schnapp: Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie, The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy's Grand Adventure) and youngest daughter Peggy (Jillian Lebling: TVs The Blacklist, Creative Galaxy) and himself.
Travelling in secret to Germany to broker the exchange of Abel for an American pilot, Frances Gary Powers (Love and Honour, Whiplash) caught taking pictures in Russia (there are a couple of scenes during his training featuring Michael Gaston (Inception, TVs Fringe) as Agent Williams), he also uses his powers of persuasion on the Germans to try and release an American student Frederic Pryor(Will Rogers: The Bay and Nancy, Please) who was caught on the wrong side of the wall.
The film manages a nice cross of a pervading sense of distrust with the solid backbone of Hanks' Donovan to show that being scared doesn't mean you shouldn't at least try and do the right thing. There are some lovely snippets that highlight the times, the A bomb cameo and the scenes of the Berlin Wall going up and those trying to cross it, that resonate well with things that sadly are still going on today. The tension and suspense strikes the right balance to give the viewer a sense of how it would feel to be the outsider in such a situation and how many risks Donovan is taking to prove that 'every life matters.'
Tagline: In the shadow of war, one man showed the world what we stand for. 8/10
Trivia: As seen in the film, Soviet agent Rudolph Abel received coded messages from his KGB handlers that were hidden inside a hollow U.S. nickel. The FBI first became aware of Abel's activities in 1953, when a Soviet agent mistakenly used one of the hollow nickels to buy a newspaper. The Brooklyn newsboy who had received the nickel thought it felt too light. He dropped the nickel on the sidewalk, and it popped open, revealing a piece of microfilm with a coded message inside. But FBI cryptologists were unable to crack the code until 1957, when a KGB defector, Reino Heyhanen, gave them the key to deciphering the code, and also gave up Rudolph Abel. James B. Donovan was an insurance attorney and presented the appearance of being misplaced in his role as defense attorney and negotiator. Unmentioned in the movie and in reality, he was formerly General Counsel for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), formed under Franklin Roosevelt and William J. Donovan during WWII. The OSS was the direct predecessor of the CIA. There was no doubt he was well known and connected within the intelligence community. The rock band U2 took their name from the U-2 plane which is featured in this movie. The band's lead singer Bono's daughter Eve Hewson plays a role in the movie.