film reel image

film reel image

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bridge of Spies 2015 * * * Stars

Bridge of SpiesDirector: Steven Spielberg
Year: 2015
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan, Mark Rylance

Spielberg and Hanks. Hanks and Spielberg. Their collaborations have become legend. You've got 1998's Saving Private Ryan which I never went gaga over. Then there's The Terminal, not an awful film just meh. Finally, we have Catch Me If You Can, the duo's entertaining masterpiece (this is just my opinion). Bridge of Spies (my latest review) is the current synergy between these two celebrated, Hollywood giants. It's cinematic hot chocolate recommendable because of historical significance. "Bridge" with its darkly-lit scenes and bloated two hour-plus running time, falls into Steven's two categories of movies being hyperactive, action adventures and historical sagas. It hightails into the latter meaning it's talky, draggy, and mostly devoid of anything compelling. I felt as if I was watching Lincoln again minus the circa range of 1865. Translation: No second viewing for this camper.

Taking place during the Cold War via 1957, featuring a cast of virtual unknowns (a Spielberg emblem), and written by none other than the Cohen brothers (Ethan and Joel Cohen of course), Bridge of Spies chronicles real-life insurance lawyer, James B. Donovan (Hanks). He's a family man, a dude bent on doing the right thing. When he gets saddled with defending a Russian spy (Rudolf Abel played uniquely by Mark Rylance), Donovan helps said spy avoid the death penalty while attempting to trade him for two American refugees (a fighter pilot and a graduate student who are both detained by way of espionage). The flick then involves globetrotting within the territories of Germany, Russia, and you guessed it, Brooklyn, New York. Scenes build to a slow creep combining negotiation dialogue that spews mannerisms at verbatim (Tom's James B. has the flu, we get it). I sensed that I'd been in the theater for ten hours and sat through three drawn-out endings (the final sequence is reminiscent of 1985's White Nights. It looks like a soundstage which is uncharacteristic of the mighty Steven Spielberg).

In retrospect, the acting (as expected) is solid with Tom Hanks being well, Tom Hanks. We all know he's the quintessential everyman. Will he get a nomination from the Academy? Maybe but this is October so there's sixty days left in the fiscal year. Bottom line: The World's most socko director provides us with admirable storytelling, technical skill, and period detail of the highest order. Does he entertain the moviegoer in the process? Not entirely. Be sure to bring heightened intelligence and an attention span (the size of Texas) to actually feel immersed. This is a "bridge" too far if you ask me. Rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

No comments:

Post a Comment