Bridge of Spies: Film Review

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I had high expectations for Bridge of Spies because it reunites the dream team of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, who have made incredible movies together such as Saving Private Ryan and Catch Me If You Can. But I’m sorry to say this is the weakest of them all – it was far too long for a film where not a lot happens.

Hanks is James B. Donovan, an American lawyer recruited to defend suspected Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) who is captured in Brooklyn during the Cold War in 1957. His tenacity in defending Abel makes him a target of hate with the U.S. public. He is then asked to go to Germany to negotiate the exchange of Abel for imprisoned U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers, whose plane was shot down over Russia.

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I expected this to be a spy thriller but it is not at all thrilling. It is simply a slow-burning, dialogue-heavy drama. A bit too dialogue-heavy really. It was too much. It was all talk and no action – we were watching people talk about doing stuff rather see it actually happen. I thought it was going to be a slow build-up to some shock twist, or something super dramatic, but it didn’t come. I have seen promotional posters which call it nail-biting and tense, and I disagree. Sure, there was tension in some places but it was usually followed by disappointment that nothing exciting actually happened. I’m sorry to admit that I felt my eyes close a few times.

The performances were amazing though. Rylance in particular was a revelation to me as I don’t know much of his work. You had no idea if he was innocent or not, he was a complete blank slate. And that made him so interesting. Hanks just does the reliable, humble hero type we have seen many times, so you know he can do it, but it would be nice to see him do more. I would have liked to have seen more of Jesse Plemons as a U.S. pilot as I think he’s a great actor.

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It also looks amazing. The images of Cold War Germany were powerful and the music was pretty sweet too. It is an interesting true story, but I don’t think it warranted 141 minutes. It would have been better off with a massive trimming down.

It is a shame. I was really gearing up for some hard-hitting spy thriller that leaves you thinking about it afterwards, but honestly, I found this dreary. Sure, it was well made, the direction and performances were on point, but the story wasn’t. Sad.

In cinemas 26th November 

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