Movie reviews-an extension of TV series CLIPS by Roger Tennis


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BFCA member PFCS member

by Roger Tennis

CLIPS In November, 2015


Tom Hanks in BRIDGE OF SPIES movie

(5 CAMS)



During the Cold War with Russia, American lawyer James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is recruited by the CIA to negotiate a hostage exchange. Having defended accused KGB agent Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), Donovan is asked to help trade the imprisoned Abel for captured American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell). The exchange is to take place on a bridge in Berlin. "Bridge of Spies" is an absolutely fascinating look at a piece of true-life history. Master filmmaker Steven Spielberg reteams with treasured actor Tom Hanks for movie magic once again. As a baby boomer fully aware of the U-2 incident and the exchange, I expected to be bored by the film. The exact opposite turns out to be true. It's a brilliant, tension-filled journey to the past with many surprises along the way. One surprise: I was unaware that Donovan wanted a 2-for-1 exchange that included American graduate student Frederic Pryor, who was also being held as a spy. While this movie succeeds mostly because of the director and his star, the supporting cast shouldn't be overlooked. Mark Rylance, highly regarded as a great stage actor, delivers a memorable performance as the beleaguered Russian spy. Amy Ryan as Donovan's wife Mary and Alan Alda as law firm partner Thomas Watters Jr. also add to the film's success. Eve Hewson plays daughter Carol Donovan. Her real-life father is Bono, whose band U2 took their name from the U-2 spy plane. Even at its 141 min. length, this intelligent thriller never slows down - thanks in part to a fantastic script by Matt Charman, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. Brief strong language and some violence account for the PG-13 rating. The captivating "Bridge of Spies" entertainingly connects the past to today's audience.


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