Sunday, October 18, 2015

Bridge of Spies blends history with drama and a touch of Spielberg magic

Movie:    Bridge of Spies

Rating:  PG-13, 2 hours 15 minutes

Grade:   A

In a Nutshell:    “1957.  The height of the Cold War.  The United States and the Soviet Union fear each other’s nuclear capabilities – and intentions.  Both sides deploy spies – and hunt for them.”  And so the movie begins.

This is not a bang-bang, shoot ‘em up James Bond kind of spy film, but a thinking-man’s movie.  It’s a true story, which gives it all the “wow factor” the movie needs.  Thank you, Steven Spielberg, for another powerful movie.  He and Tom Hanks know how to do it right.  

Uplifting Theme:
·         Justice
·         “It doesn’t matter what other people think.  You know what you did.” – James Donovan
·         Good vs. Bad vs. something in between…
-     Patriotism comes in many colors.
                                                                        -    Which is more important: the ends or the means?
                                                                        -     What do YOU stand for?
Things I liked:
·         Written by the Coen brothers.   Humor.  Tension.  Historical drama.  Great job!
·         Good for Amy Ryan for starring in two movies in theaters at the same time!  (Goosebumps)
-     I loved the contrast between the 2 scenes that showed people jumping over a fence.
-     Some of the most powerful statements were never spoken.  Tom Hanks is the master of subtlety.
      Donovan was such a great negotiator that even when he got robbed, he was able to get directions from the guys who stole his coat!
      Check out the amazing statistics at the end of the movie that showcase Donovan's talents.
      SPOILER ALERT:  The scene on the bridge towards the end of the movie is a masterpiece.  Watch the camera angles and the contrast between light and dark.

Things I didn’t like:
·         It’s a little slow-moving at times.  Those who require non-stop action in their movie-going will get a good nap.

Funny lines:  
·         “You don’t look worried.” – James Donovan
“Would it help?” – Rudolph Abel
·         “I’m not afraid to die, Mr. Donovan, although it wouldn’t be my first choice.” – Rudolph Abel (played extremely well by Mark Rylance.  Best Supporting Actor Oscar?)
Interesting lines:
·         “We need to have a conversation our governments can’t.”   James Donovan
·         “Everyone deserves a defense.  Every person matters.” - Donovan

Tips for Parents:
·         1 F-bomb by Tom Hanks.  Aw, doggonit.
-    Children will snooze and not be interested.  Teens might snooze, but will be rewarded if they can stick it out until the end.
·         You see innocent people being gunned down as they try to get over the East Berlin Wall.  Your children may not know about this point in history and the dangers of the Cold War after WWII.  I remember watching in utter amazement when the Berlin Wall finally came down.  I never thought it would happen.
- “Checkpoint Charlie” is also shown in the film.  Talk to your kids or grandkids about what life was like back then.   George Santayana is quoted as saying "Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it. Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them."

Want to learn more about this point in history?

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