|Tom Hanks has both gloves on (inside joke) in Bridge of Spies|
Remember when Steven Spielberg used to make films that had a ton of replay value? Films like Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Indiana Jones series, Poltergeist (Directed by Tobe Hooper but let's face it, that was Steve's movie) and, Jurassic Park, can be watched again and again for days to decades. Then something happened to him on the way to older age; he started making more serious films and that sense of awe in his movies became more fewer and far between. Don't get me wrong, even his more mature projects are better than most. But I wish that his latter endeavors had the long lasting effects of his classics (He had a decent try with The Adventures of Tintin). Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, and Minority Report aside, films like Amistad, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal, Munich, War Horse, and Lincoln, are good movies but, who really wants to see those more than once? Hell, I even forgot about Amistad until I looked up his bio. What I am trying to say, is that El Stevo should take a break from pleasing the geriatric crowd and, tap back into the roots of what ignited the imaginations of all us nerdy preteens that are now trapped in a gray-haired body, anxiously awaiting our next prostate exam. Besides, hasn't he already done enough damage by allowing that Bay guy to direct the Transformers films instead of himself?
Spielberg's latest film, Bridge of Spies, is another addition to his more matured library. What's odd, is that this movie hasn't got the obvious feel of a Spielberg direction. If they had slapped a different director's name on this, I would have seen the same exact film that was presented to me and wouldn't have noticed any of Steven's signature styles involved either way. As with a lot of films based on actual events, Bridge of Spies is a good movie but, is also doomed to being just a one-shot deal. Now before I make this review seem as bleak as the cold war era that the film's set in, I must say that there's much to praise about this picture. First and foremost, the drama is good. Though it's not for everyone (If you're too A.D.D. for slow films, bring a coloring book along with you), the pacing sets up the characters and scenes like a piece of art in progress. The first fifteen minutes is intriguingly shot as a cat & mouse foot chase through New York City. The paranoia of the time period is prevalent throughout. The little attentions to detail in the sets, props, and costumes, make a large difference to its quality. One little detail was dulled down for obvious PC (popularly cancerous) reasons; smoking. You see it in the film for sure but, it's restricted to a little here and there. Don't be scared Hollywood, be authentic. Everyone smoked back then.
There are a large amount of actors in Bridge of Spies yet, the two that matter most are from Tom Hanks (Saving Private Ryan) and Mark Rylance (The Gunman). Their interactions through the film are a highlight. There is a subtle respect and understanding between those two that make this film want to be better than it truly is. Hanks commands in all of his scenes in a way that shows ripened acting, not blatant award attention behavior. Along with Rylance, the film's other "spies" (Austin Stowell, Whiplash) and (Will Rogers, The Bay), are given a decent balance between their trials and tribulations, to give the audience an equal understanding. Small but integral characters from Amy Ryan (Birdman), Alan Alda (M*A*S*H), Jesse Plemons (Black Mass), Domenick Lombardozzi (The Family), Sebastian Koch (A Good Day to Die Hard), Scott Shepherd (Side Effects), and Dakin Matthews (Lincoln), keep the drama flowing. Nearly everyone of those characters has something funny and lite to say and do but, all in a realistic way. Thank goodness for that, cause there is next to no action in this film aside from a quickie drive-by and a U-2 spy plane shoot down scene.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Bridge of Spies
The Good- Hanks and Shepherd have a civil discussion at a bar, family dinner disagreements, "Would it help?", tense trips into East Germany, the actual bridge of spies and, a bed never looked so comfy.
The Bad- Regardless of its obvious outcome, Rylance's trial scenes should have been longer to display his and Hanks' relationship growth.
The Ugly- Originally scheduled to be made in 1965, only to be canceled by fear of international dispute. I thought that America's "greatest generation" had bigger balls than that?
Final Thoughts on Bridge of Spies
Bridge of Spies is a must-see for dramatic cold war era movie lovers. I really liked this film but at the same time, I know that I probably will never want to see this again as well. In the long run of things especially being Spielberg related, that's saying something. Now Steve, stop messing with surefire Oscar contenders, and get the long delayed Robopocalypse film made. It's time to go young again because, it's never too late. Well except with Peter Pan (Hook); no one wants to see you try that one again.
Rating- 7 out of 10
Rating- 7 out of 10
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