Saturday, April 1, 2017

Bridge of Spies (2015)

IMDb plot summary: 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.
Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda.

I'd been putting this one off for a long time even while I watched all the other Best Picture nominees this year because I worried it was going to be a gritty spy story along the lines of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (which I found mindnumbingly boring). I probably should have trusted Spielberg a bit more to make an emotionally gripping film. He does just that here, bringing out the humanity of the characters throughout. The narrative follows mostly expected paths, but Tom Hanks gives an especially compelling performance as the film's lead, and even when the story plays out as expected, it's still done well to enhance the drama. I was also struck by how beautifully the film is shot. More than a few times I would pause the movie to get a drink or check a text and marvel at how the results resembled deliberately-chosen screenshots rather than random pauses. It's not the kind of movie that's going to significantly stick with me, but it was a much better watch than I thought it might be. A pleasant surprise.

3.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Bridge of Spies > The Man in the Iron Mask
Bridge of Spies < Kolya
Bridge of Spies > Brick
Bridge of Spies < You Can Count on Me
Bridge of Spies > The Master
Bridge of Spies > Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles
Bridge of Spies < Ninotchka
Bridge of Spies > Frances Ha
Bridge of Spies < Shaolin Soccer
Bridge of Spies > Liberal Arts
Bridge of Spies > Hail, Caesar!

Final spot: #838 out of 2601.

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