‘Bridge Of Spies:’ Something Smells Like Multiple Oscars

Stop what you’re doing and go see Bridge of Spies right now. You think what you’re doing is important? It is nothing compared to this masterfully written, directed, acted, and constructed Cold War era spy flick. Bridge of Spies injects the notoriously cold spy thriller genre with humanity and humor. It twists and turns with moral ambiguity, but explores the lives of the people on each side of every twist and turn. This film is pure Hollywood gold; but in a Meryl Streep way, and not a Gwyneth Paltrow way.

Bridge of Spies features Tom Hanks as the smooth-talking New York Lawyer James Donovan, a charmer as compassionate and intelligent as he is cocky. Donovan gets sucked into the world of espionage after defending convicted Russian spy Rudolph Abel, played by Mark Rylance, in court. Both play their roles expertly, their characters forming an unlikely respect and friendship. The best part of the movie is when, while sharing a plate of spaghetti in Abel’s cell, their lips accidentally touch when they try to slurp down the same saucy noodle.

How embarrassing! 

Ok, so maybe we don’t go full From Russia With Love up in here, but their repartee is really at the heart of this film. The juxtaposition of honest sweetness with ruthless cruelty anchors and underscores the incredible atrocities of man’s inhumanity to man, which are shown uncompromisingly in Bridge of Spies. In this morally grey world existing on the brink of nuclear annihilation, no character is trivialized, and every piece of the puzzle is treated with deft empathy.

If you hear spy thriller and immediately expect some kind of two hour long action sequence that ends with a city block exploding, chill. This ain’t a Bond film. Yeah, I guess it’s badass to shoot at stuff and not make facial expressions unless you’re grunting in pain, but Bridge of Spies celebrates a whole new kind of badassery. It takes guts to look a literal mouthpiece of the KGB in the face in East Berlin, and sniffle while you tell him that you are trying to speed up negotiations because you have a cold and want to go home.

Tom Hanks is cute when he’s being all sniffly. And detained in East Berlin. Presh.

Bridge of Spies is an incredible film, and how could it not be? It’s directed by Spielberg and the screenplay was written by Matt Charman and the Coen Brothers. It stars Tom Hanks. The minimal score adds gritty reality. The horror and beauty shown within this film, even in its little moments, are left naked and uncompromisingly pop. Bridge of Spies is masterfully crafted to be as emotionally resonant as it is devastatingly intelligent, and will probably (it goddamn better) win every award come award season.

Grade: A+ 

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