Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Scott Shepherd, Amy Ryan, Sebastian Koch, Alan Alda, Austin Stowell, Billy Magnussen, Eve Hewson, Jesse Plemons, Michael Gaston, Peter McRobbie, Domenick Lombardozzi, Will Rogers, Dakin Matthews, Stephen Kunken, Joshua Harto, Mark Zak, Edward James, Mikhail Gorevoy
During the Cold War, American lawyer James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy (Mark Rylance) in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U-2 spy-plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell).
Based on the trailer, I was expecting a film similar to Eastwood's "American Sniper", a film torn between being anti-war and pro-war, significantly tilted in favor of the United States. Well, I was surprised to discover that the film is, for the most part, an impartial view of the Cold War. However, it is not a masterpiece as many claim.
Spielberg's Bridge of Spies is indeed a film made of two uneven parts: a brilliant legal drama, and a less successful political thriller.
Matt Charman and the Coen Brothers seem to have got most of the facts right, and, although the film is obviously embellished, it works as an historical drama. Unfortunately, the story unfolds, and especially ends, in a too simplistic way, and therefore it is a little unrealistic. It is for this reason that the first part, the legal drama, stands on the second part, the political thriller, lacking a depth study and high tension -- this lack is mostly felt around Hanks's character: there's hostility, it's perceptible but it's not as high as it could have been. A real shame because the film did have the potential to be a masterpiece.
Another quibble is cinematography, which seems to be taken care of by two different people: in some scenes abounds the use of the annoying wide angle, while in some others everything is impeccable.
However, the film is beautifully done and it is provided with a higher truthfulness thank to the setting and scenery very well-constructed that really make you feel immersed in the time and place.
Going back to the tension, considering the film is made up almost entirely of dialogue - witty and enhanced by the terrific dark sense of humour of the Coen brothers -, the level of tension the film manages to reach is quite surprisingly.
Then there is the wonderful casting of Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance. Tom Hanks delivers a great performance, suiting very well in the role of the idealistic and tenacious lawyer doing everything in his power to defend "his guy". The other highlight in the cast is Mark Rylance, who also gives a great performance as Soviet spy Rudolf Abel. He transmits such serenity, and when he and Hanks are in the same room, just enjoy their chemistry.