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Movie Review: Bridge of Spies

'Bridge of Spies' offers more than your average cold war thriller. The film takes the audiences back in time and experience how the period felt, visually and emotionally. The recreation of Brooklyn and Germany from the Cold War is strikingly compelling. The film focuses on the battles of an individual who kept himself together while being beaten up by different forces from the outside and within.

A dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of a series of historic events, “Bridge of Spies” tells the story of James Donovan (Hanks), a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible task to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. One of the best things in this movie is that it keeps you interested and hooked on the character of James Donovan (Hanks). At first, he is presented as a tactful and almost heartless lawyer, and his character develops with the fascinating unraveling of the film's plot.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and with “Bridge of Spies,” the incredible story of an ordinary man placed in extraordinary circumstances, it is all the more compelling because the character at the heart of the story is a real person.  In the 1950s during the early stages of the Cold War, the FBI arrests Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), a Soviet agent living in New York, the fear and paranoia only escalate. Charged with sending coded messages back to Russia, Abel is questioned by the FBI but refuses to cooperate, declining their offer to turn on his country, and is detained in federal prison pending trial. 

The mystery on the character of the soft spoken and artistic, Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) heightens the film's enigma. There is a continuous push and pull of anticipation. A need for details from the characters back story is strongly felt by audiences. The film slowly unravels the details one by one in random and unexpected instances.

We are actually expecting a set of horrible and mind-altering torture scenes that would be performed to Rudolf Abel, well we didn't see it (in the movie at least). But you will see a few scenes (I promise you -spoiler alert*)

                The government, in need of an independent attorney to take on Abel’s defense, approaches James Donovan (Tom Hanks), an insurance lawyer from Brooklyn. But Donovan, a former prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials and highly regarded within the legal community for his profound skills as a negotiator, has little experience with allegations of this magnitude and isn’t eager to get involved. Advocating such a deeply unpopular defense would make him a public figure and could subject his family to scrutiny, disdain and even, potentially, danger.

Tom Hanks is James Donovan: Lawyer Turned Negotiator Who Defends Country's Enemy in “Bridge of Spies”

Navigating the unfamiliar waters of high-stakes international intrigue, James Donovan rose to the occasion with a modesty befitting the heroic acts that he performs, becoming an unsung civilian hero, and, in the process, the inspiration for an incredibly powerful story and film

"Bridge of Spies" is  a masterful film that plays with the idea of power and strength of big opposing nations against misunderstood individuals caught by circumstances. One of the best films that would surely inspire you in doing what you believe in, keeping your solid ground in the treacherous water of uncertainty.

Bridge of Spies (2015)
PG-13  |  142 min  |  Biography, Drama, History  |  14 October 2015 (Philippines)

Our ratings: ★★★★★★★★★☆

Master filmmaker Steven Spielberg, who produced and directed blockbuster movies brings another yet award winning movie with a high-pedigreed ensemble of actors in the historical thrilling drama “Bridge of Spies” based on true events starring Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan, Mark Rylance, Austin Stowell and Alan Alda. 

Steven Spielberg's “Bridge of Spies”: The Incredible Story of Honorable Men Inspired by True Events

Screenwriters Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen have woven this remarkable experience in Donovan’s life into a story inspired by true events that captures the essence of a man who risked everything and vividly brings his personal journey to life.

“Bridge of Spies” will be released in local theaters nationwide on October 14 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

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