(fr) wrote: Worst film I've ever had to endure. Like paper mach first it's wet, limp and thin later it's brittle, vacant, completely void and similar to a daily newspaper my interest had wained after reading the funnies!The dialogue was "Stan", "Stan", "Stan" - like repeating his name (Hugh Jackman) would somehow make us like him more, wrong!Awful action scenes and score. Storyline was inept and the acting wasn't any better.
(us) wrote: Bridge of Spies, like fellow 2015 Best Picture nominee Spotlight, is the most difficult kind of thriller to execute: a true story to which you already know the ending. Spotlight had the advantage of being a detective story in addition to being a procedural to draw the audience into the plot. Bridge of Spies is also a procedural except the main character doesn't know what the procedure is and has to figure it out along the way. That may be shaky material to start with, but in the skilled hands at work both on and off screen the result is an excellent low-key but suspenseful Cold War thriller. Bridge of Spies has two distinct settings each occupying a half of the film and presenting a different challenge for our hero, insurance lawyer James Donovan, played by Tom Hanks. In New York in 1957, where the film begins, Donovan is selected by his law firm for the task of defending recently arrested Soviet spy Rudolph Abel, played by Mark Rylance. It is a thankless task since Abel certainly is a spy, but the courts and Justice Department feel it is important that Abel appear to receive a fair trial and competent defense. They want someone to give the minimum effort required. They found the wrong man for that with Donovan. Abel's trial is just for show, but Donovan takes the case seriously saying that every person matters and everyone deserves a defense. He gives Abel a more than competent defense much to the chagrin and disdain of the judge, his firm, and anyone that recognizes him on the street. I couldn't help but be reminded of John Adams defending British soldiers after the Boston Massacre of 1770 to prove that American justice is truly fair and impartial. I think it is safe to assume both men share the belief that everyone deserves a fair trial and capable defense. Hanks fits into the role of James Donovan with convincing ease and brings his everyman persona to a character that is a low key, quiet badass. In scene after scene we him doing what he does best, which is not just practicing law, but also negotiating for "his guy," unintimidated by whoever the other person in the room is. Donovan is going to do not just what is asked of him; he is going to do what he knows is right and fair. Hanks is great at playing Donovan with believable confidence and conviction and without condescension or any hint of self-righteousness. The second half of the film gives Donovan an even bigger, more complicated challenge and sends him to Berlin, just as final stones of the wall dividing West and East Berlin are being set in place. He is asked by the CIA, unofficially, to travel to Berlin and negotiate a trade with the Soviets: Abel for recently captured U2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers, who was shot down over Soviet airspace. Making things even more complicated, the East Germans have arrested an American student that was caught on the wrong side of the wall. Donovan becomes determined to get both Americans back even though he has only one Soviet spy to trade, the U.S. doesn't acknowledge the existence of the German Democratic Republic, and the CIA has no interest in getting the student back. Both halves of Bridge of Spies are interesting and engaging but the film feels like it really takes off once Donovan is sent to Berlin. The people and bureaucrats that he encounters, East German and Soviet alike, range from suspicious to bizarre. He has a particularly amusing encounter with the dramatically expressive East German Attorney General, and Abel's supposed family is an odd bunch, too. Joel and Ethan Coen co-wrote the screenplay and, unintentionally or not, the Berlin scenes have the eccentric Coen Brothers feel to them. Tom Hanks owns every scene he has in this movie, except for those he shares with Mark Rylance. They do not have many scenes together, but are immensely entertaining to watch. Rylance, nominated for a Supporting Actor Oscar, is a quiet, unassuming presence on screen and provides some unexpected wry humor. Whether we are watching Jim Donovan negotiating an impossible exchange or watching Hanks and Rylance show us more by doing less, it is always interesting to watching someone do something very well. This may be a story about spies and the Cold War but it is much more in line with the slow burn character heavy spy stories ofJohn le Carr, author of the novel thatwas adapted into the excellent Oscar nominated film, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). Most of the action in this movie comes from people talking in rooms sizing each other up, trying to find out what the other person knows while revealing as little as possible of what they know. The tension of those interesting, suspenseful, and entertaining scenes comes from the well-written and well played characters. Human lives, more so than government secrets, are at risk, and the only person aware of that in Bridge of Spies is Donovan. He tells a Soviet representative, "We need to have the conversation that our governments can't."There are several things that have to be done well for a movie like Bridge of Spies to work and, fortunately, they are all done very well. The screenplay by Matt Charman and Joel & Ethan Coen, which is deservedly Oscar nominated for Original Screenplay, provides the actors with great material to work with. The cinematography by Janusz Kaminski gives Bridge of Spies the look and feel of a noir film. The dull, muted color palette of the costumes and production design makes the New York and Berlin of the past feel genuine and real and not like an exaggerated memory. It has been a long time since I've been excited to see a movie directed by Steven Spielberg, or been excited by a movie by him. Spielberg's movies over the past ten years have been good but uneven (Lincoln, 2012, Munich, 2005) or well-made but unremarkable (War Horse, 2011). I admit that I was not excited when I saw Spielberg's name as director for this movie, but having seen it, I'm very glad with the result. It feels clichd but accurate to say that Bridge of Spies is a "return to form" for Spielberg; this is the kind of quality I expect from a master filmmaker like him. This is a tough story for any filmmaker to tackle, but Spielberg has shown that he is still a skilled craftsman and was the right man for the job. Bridge of Spies, the last Spielberg movie I enjoyed completely from beginning to end was The Terminal, released in 2004. That film was also the last time he worked with Tom Hanks, so I can't help but think that they bring out the best in each other.