Bridge of Spies

UPDATED: Monday, October 26, 2015 05:09
VIEWED: 1304
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Monday, October 26, 2015 5:09 AM


I knew little of the story behind Bridge of Spies, I mainly went to see it for 2 reasons: Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. But by the end of the movie, I not only learned something, I learned something else.

It was a good solid movie about patriotism, honor and following your conscience amid great adversity. It was about ideals, something that has been hammered into our brains from grade school. It was part propaganda, part story with a bit of American Dream mixed in for good measure. It was the Pledge of Allegiance and "Duck and Cover" wrapped in the Constitution.

Jim Donovan (Hanks) is "recruited" to defend an accused Soviet Spy during the early 60s. He was supposed to give only a cursory defense, enough to show the world that we follow our own rules; but not enough to actually defend the SOB. Of course Donovan wouldn't hear of it. He vowed to defend his client to the full extent of the law, he would give the accused the best defense, in the manner of true Americanism. A stout full-on defense.
Of course, his boss, the judge and even his family was dead set against it.
They would be marked as outcasts, ridiculed and threatened.

As I researched this movie, I came to find out that: Donovan is best known for negotiating the exchange of captured American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers for Russian spy Rudolf Abel and the exchange of prisoners after the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion (on which the story is based). Spielberg captured perfectly the essence of life during these "Cold War" years. The near-hysterical obsession with spies, bombs and communism and how the governments of Russia, Germany and the USA despised and mistrusted one another.

It was taught, precise and well paced; with nary a wasted frame. It showed the behind the scenes negotiating and hard-nosed government overreach - on both sides of the fence. Spielberg got clean, minimalist performances from all the actors and kept the story moving along. If this were a book, it would become known as a page-turner.

There was the real sense that you were a "fly on the wall" eavesdropping in on the conversations. Each scene built upon the preceding scene, almost as though Spielberg was building a case for humanity against the manipulations of the governments involved. It felt as though Spielberg was making a case, more about Donovan and how we was a "true" American, much more so than the so-called "men of power" he served.

One of the best movies I've seen this year.







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