Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bridge of Spies

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I don't know, do spies make good bridge-making materials?

 

Bridge of Spies – 4 out of 5

I was very excited when I first heard of this movie.  It made me excited and hungry.  Of course, that was because I thought the film was called Bridge of Pies.  Look, I didn’t pay attention when the trailer was on and was only listening to it from the other room.  Also, this joke is an incredibly stupid way to start my review of Bridge of Spies but I had a long day at work and couldn’t think of any other way to start this…so, let’s just get to the synopsis.

But before we do that, let me ask the question:  What is that cop in the background
looking at?

Based on the true events during the Cold War, Bridge of Spies tells the tale of lawyer James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks).  After a KGB spy (Mark Rylance) is taken into custody, Donovan is charged with representing him during his trial—a move that would make him as evil in the eyes of the public as the spy himself.  Despite the backlash from the citizens of the country, Donovan takes the case but soon he is asked to take on another responsibility:  He must travel across the sea and negotiate the release of some Americans taken prisoner in exchange for the man he swore to defend in court.

In today's political climate, the idea of giving a spy a fair trial seems fitting.
Kinda goes to show you that not much changes over the years.

Like all films that are “based on a true story,” I forgive the liberties they take for the sake of storytelling and conveying drama.  Real life can be quite amazing but it’s never as picturesque as we get to see in the films and television.  I never fault bio-pics and features based on actual events for tweaking the story and characters in order to maximize the drama and intrigue (which is why I forgive the supernatural films about ghosts that claim to be based on true events—I don’t believe in ghosts so, no matter the claims it’s always fiction to me).  Bridge of Spies doesn’t shy away from these changes but, like most other times adjustments are made, it really helped to make the story engaging and moving.

For example, all these people are actually robots.  If felt like a strange change
to make, honestly...

I'm just going to say I wouldn't be against the idea
of Hanks being in a film called Bridge of Pies...
Another element to the production that really helps sell the emotion of drama of the film is the overall look of the feature.  Yes, the story is great but director Steven Spielberg really brought forth a film that is absolutely gorgeous to look at.  The rich use of dark, striking tones and colors not only help establish the bleak and terrifying times of the Cold War but really help solidify the feelings being expressed within the characters and story.  Whether it is the fear of lurking terrors in the deep shadows that were synonymous with the Cold War or the way so many of the colors were so vibrant and rich that they call on the uneasy will and confidence of the good that Donovan is trying to accomplish in defending a man who is told shouldn’t be defended and negotiating a treaty to get some prisoners back really made for a film that was able to visually show the confusion of the time and showed it through very beautiful tones of color juxtapose with imposing shadows.

Never have political negotiations looked more striking.

Finally, the performances in this film are absolutely fantastic.  It goes without saying that Tom Hanks is stellar so I don’t think I really have to mention that but his interaction with the equally amazing Mark Rylance as the Russian spy was something incredible to watch.  Yes, the story is great and visually the film is a feast of art to take in but the chemistry these two share and watching their characters form a bond that, realistically, never should have happened really helped solidify this as a film to really take in and enjoy.   All-in-all, just a captivating and engaging feature.

Their friendship would be strong as steel...until it came down to the last
slice of pizza.

If there was a downside to Bridge of Spies, I have to say that the film doesn’t offer up much replay value for me.  The film is terrifically put together and tells a fantastic story but I don’t think I would ever watch the film again.  There’s plenty of heart and drama to enjoy but it’s on a level that if I see it once, I don’t really need to see it again and that’s what really is keeping it from being a perfect score for me.  Beyond this, the film is definitely worth the time and is an incredibly dramatic and stunning film to experience.

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