By Eddy Montilla.
Directed by: Steven Spielberg.
Written by: Matt Charman, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers).
Starring: Tom Hanks (James Donovan), Mark Rylance (Rudolf Abel) and Amy Ryan (Mary Donovan).
Running Time: 142 minutes.
When you have together good scriptwriters (Matt Charman, Ethan and Joel Coen), a director of genius (Steven Spielberg) and two great actors (Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance), what can you expect from them? A burned cake? No, you get a masterpiece, one of the best movies in the last quadrennium, and that is exactly what Bridge of Spies is.
In order to understand or achieve something, sometimes we have to start from the end rather than the beginning. Movies are no exception. So we have James Donovan (Tom Hanks), a lawyer without bias or frontiers when it comes to justice, looking through the window of a bus on his way home after helping CIA in a difficult and dangerous exchange of spies between USA and The Soviet Union. The greatness of this movie occurs precisely inside that bus. Think about all things Donovan went through and then pay attention to the music played at that time. It was glorious. During the Cold War, anything that looked like The Soviet Union or just smelled of The Soviet Union was enough to be considered detestable. Inside that bus, the same people who in the past looked daggers at him for defending Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), the Russian spy, now gave him a tender look for bringing not only the American spy pilot back, but the university student too.
Observe Tom Hanks’ facial expression while he was looking outside. Note the parallel in the three kids jumping over the fence near the bus and the three young people killed when they tried to climb the fence in Germany. Learn from the nice lesson Donovan taught the American spy when they were flying back to USA and other people treated him like a traitor while he was trying to convince them that he did not say anything. “It doesn’t matter what people think. You know what you did.” Finally, enjoy the understanding behaviour of his wife, Mary Donovan (Amy Ryan) when she realized where his husband really was and saw him completely exhausted, lying on the bed.
The sequence of scenes can be a perfect teacher for callow directors; Tom Hanks, and this time in particular, Mark Rylance, will teach you what great actors are made of. The remarkable concatenation of events during the whole movie is almost incredible. So what else could I say? See it, see it and see it.
This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.
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