Friday, 29 April 2016

Bridge of Spies

Lowdown: The personal story of an ordinary lawyer taking upon himself a key role in a Cold War spy exchange.
It has been a while since Steven Spielberg last graced our screen. In Bridge of Spies he comes out with guns blazing, bringing along one of his main stars - Tom Hanks.
As has been the trend with Spielberg movies of the last couple of decades, Bridge of Spies is based on historical events. Hanks plays a New York lawyer who, during the fifties, is assigned with the task of demonstrating American justice to the world by assuming the role of protecting a Russian spy in court. This, the first half of Bridge of Spies, becomes - essentially - a statement on our current world, a world in which by simply uttering the magic word "terrorism" the authorities can justify anything they feel like doing. Even the compromising of everyone's security for the sake of decrypting the only smartphone a terrorist did not bother destroying before committing his crime.
Or, in other words, Bridge of Spies shows the windmills Hanks' lawyer has to fight with in order to bring justice to a figure who everyone around him has already presumed guilty before trial.
Bridge of Spies turns into a significantly different movie in its second half, when we follow the same lawyer as he assumes a key role in the exchange of said Russian spy with an American U2 spy plane shot down over the USSR. As a civilian, our lawyer is able to go back and forth between American, Russian and East German authorities on both sides of the Berlin Wall (with the movie portraying its erection as we go along). This half of the movie is the tale of how American individualism can win the day against all odds when one keeps their head up and perseveres. Sometimes, you know, this is referred to as The American Dream.
There is no denying Bridge of Spies is an enjoyable movie to watch. It is your classic Spielberg, well made with excellent production values. However, I will also not deny that the formulistic Spielberg approach has grown stale by now; I feel as if I have outgrown it. Yes, I liked Bridge of Spies and I think it is a good movie; but I also think Spielberg can do better to both himself and the world by further evolving.
Overall: Bridge of Spies is a nice movie at 3.5 out of 5 crabs, with the caveat that a bit more originality might have made it into a much better film.

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