Check out the full Movie Bears Podcast review of ‘Bridge of Spies’ in the video below or read on for our mini-review:
In his most recent string of films, legendary producer/director Steven Spielberg seems to have found a comfortable sweet spot creating Oscar contending historical dramas. His latest, ‘Bridge of Spies’ is no exception. The result is a taut, polished spy movie which tells the true story of lawyer James Donovan’s stoic efforts to facilitate a spy exchange between the CIA and the Russian and East German governments for captured US pilot Gary Powers during the ‘Cold War’ era of the late 1950’s. While this may not sound like riveting stuff for a movie night, the film is written and paced in a way that keeps the audience fully engaged from beginning to end, which shouldn’t be a surprise for a Spielberg film, but is also partly due to the writing contribution of the Coen brothers.
Tom Hanks provides a wonderful performance in the lead role as James Donovan, who is an earnest, soft spoken, but strongly convicted everyman, compelling enough for a sure-bet Best Actor nomination. The movie itself will also likely get its share of accolades, although it unfortunately has a way too familiar feel of a by-the-numbers Oscar-bait drama. So even with its great central performance and consistent level of intrigue, as with Spielberg’s last few films, it somehow feels overly dry and fails to provide truly memorable moments. Still, this is a film worth seeing, even if only for its solid filmmaking, a lesson in Cold War history and another stellar Tom Hanks performance.