Bridge of Spies is a classic political historical drama under the proven directorship of Steven Spielberg and led by Tom Hanks’ dependable acting. Bridge of Spies is a beautifully crafted movie about an important, but dark time in our nation’s history: a prisoner exchange with the USSR during the early years of the Cold War. The US is in the grips of the Red Scare, as anti-communists like Senator McCarthy incited fears of anti-Americanism and paranoia. The lighting throughout the film is dark and shrouded in shadow, which lends itself well to the elements of mystery, espionage, and subterfuge that underlie the movie’s plot. The film follows a controlled, linear plot that successfully built suspense and set the stage for the internal conflicts of its characters. The depiction of occupied Berlin in the late 1950s as the wall is being built was jarring and made more real than any history book could achieve.
The true strength of the Bridge of Spies lies in the acting talents of its two main characters: Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance (who actually won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor). The relationship between Hanks’ character, the lawyer who becomes the unlikely catalyst for a prisoner exchange, and Rylance, the accused Soviet spy, show the complicated political and emotional factors at play, while still relaying the story in a very personal way. The mutual respect of Hanks and Rylance crosses the Cold War and guides the plot through an empathetic lens. Though hardly groundbreaking, with its period piece style and classic dialogue-driven format, Bridge of Spies is a well-executed film that is very worthy of a nomination and well-worth the time to watch. Academy Pick: Best Supporting Actor
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