Having visited Berlin last year for the first time in my life, “Bridge of Spies” kinda was the perfect movie to round up my impressions, and to complete the picture of its history in my mind. That’s not the only thing that Steven Spielberg latest movie has the offer, though. Rather, it’s a compelling historical drama, depicting the strained relationship between Russia and the US during the Cold War, the rise of the Berlin Wall, political maneuverings, and much more.
It’s not just all about the past, though. Unfortunately, in the way Donovan is shunned by some parts of the population, simply for doing his job, for playing his role in the legal system, for standing up for what he knows is right, and for sticking to his principles, I could definitely see shades of the present. It’s easy to see him defending a terror suspect, and having to face similar rejection. I really wish we as a society would have left this kind of behavior in the past, and would be able to see past our fear, our prejudice and our hate, but if anything, it seems even worse now. Thus, “Bridge of Spies” is probably more relevant today than is has ever been, and as sad as that may be, the movie itself benefited tremendously from that. It’s further enhanced by Spielberg’s very stylish, old-fashioned and elegant direction, a very good score by Thomas Newman (who proves himself to be a worthy substitute for John Williams), as well as great performances by Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance. Granted, it might take a little to really get going, but in slowly accelerating and intensifying the plot, Spielberg really managed to draw me in. Also, in those few scenes where he heightens the tension, Spielberg once again proves himself to be a master of suspense. The callback to an earlier, gut-punching scene during a ride with the subway was equally great. Finally, kudos also has to go out to scriptwriters Mark Charman & the Coen-brothers for telling a very interesting story, and filling the movie with many sympathetic characters. Overall, it might not rank among Spielberg’s absolute best, but it’s another very good entry in his ever-growing filmography, who once again proves why he’s undoubtedly one of the best directors working today.