Tom Hanks stars as the American attorney, James B Donovan, tasked with negotiating the release of Gary Powers, a U-2 spy plane pilot who was shot down over Russia at the height of the Cold War, in exchange for Rudolf Abel, a Russian spy captured and tried in the USA. Donovan also defends Abel in court, unwillingly and to his cost, managing to secure a prison sentence for him, instead of execution.
The relationship between Donovan and Abel is captivating, partly because Hanks and Rylance have such different acting styles. Hanks can not help but be the big Hollywood star but was said to have been mesmerised on set by Rylance, who is beautifully understated in his role.
Steven Spielberg’s film is an excavation of a dowdy, plain, and visually dark moment in time, peopled by soft-bodied but iron-willed men in shades of blue and gray who meet in oak-floored wallpapered rooms darkened by cigarette and pipe smoke, men possessed of a weariness that stands in contrast to the current obsession with sleek, youthful energy. Bridge of Spies is a warm portrait of a friendship, an excitingly intricate story of realistically scaled suspense, and a visually ravishing and lovingly crafted rendering of mid-century America, where how you look matters much less than what you do.
One critic said that it is ‘simply the best film Spielberg has made in decades’. It avoids the sentimentality of most–perhaps because of the inclusion of the Coen brothers in the screenwriting team.
Mark Rylance won Best Supporting Actor at the recent BAFTA awards and an Oscar. The film was nominated for Best Film at the Oscars.
Click below for reviews and more information.
Venue: William Loveless Hall