Bridge of Spies: a movie review

Roland Corwin

Bridge of Spies, directed by Steven Spielberg, is a movie about unsung heroes; not just in the story of a tax lawyer turned spy negotiator, but also in the technical details of this finely crafted movie. On both of these levels, the movie operates in relation to a historical mapping of events.

The story does not focus on the big events that are happening, rather, these are in the background. For example, one scene has Jim Donovan, played by Tom Hanks, sitting on a train heading home from work; the outside events begin to show with the dirty looks that Donovan gets as they see his face on the front page of the paper with a Russian spy.

Apparently, Rudolf Abel, played by Mark Rylance, was one of the most hated men in America. The Abel that we know from the movie, the Abel that Donovan knows, is a soft spoken man who loves the arts and misses his home. This direct difference from the outside force of the American people comes to a climax during the scene of the Donovan residence being shot up because of his decision to take the case to the court of appeals.

This is the real conflict: a man standing up for what he knows is right in the face of adversity. A man that, until now, was lost to the public behind the events of the Cold War.

Everything from the look of Berlin, to the American terror of communism feels accurate. The scenes, clothing, and lingo seem so accurate; it allows for the story to be counterculture and believable.

Spielberg does a fantastic job at directing this movie, but it is the details of the set, costume, and editing that make this movie live in The Cold War. The script, written by Matt Charman and the Coen brothers, did a fantastic job of lighting a fire under everyone involved.