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Bridge of Spies
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164 out of 213 people found the following review useful:

Legal/historical drama, not action

8/10
Author: hoxjennifer from Canada
18 October 2015

Don't be fooled by the title. Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into when you watch this film. Bridge of Spies is literally about the Cold War Bridge of Spies, where Soviet/US spies were exchanged through negotiations. This is nothing like "The Americans" (FX TV drama - for some high unrealistic and over-sexualized espionage action - redirect here) and the most action-packed scene you will see is Francis Gary Powers getting shot out of his U2 plane during his mission.

Bridge of Spies is really a historical/legal drama. And based on my preliminary research, they seem to be getting most of their facts right. Obviously a little bit embellished for Hollywood's sake, Bridge of Spies does a fine job as a historical docudrama. There is a lot of talking, but it's meaningful talking. At times, the film can be a little slow {opening scene, especially}, but give it a chance and you might enjoy it. History buffs like myself will definitely enjoy it. But thrill-seekers, you're better off to see the new James Bond movie instead.

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143 out of 204 people found the following review useful:

An unshowy Steven Spielberg does a master's job with Cold War tensions, honoring a real-life attorney's victory over fear.

9/10
Author: nsharath009 from mars
6 October 2015

A feel-good Cold War melodrama, Bridge of Spies is an absorbing true-life espionage tale very smoothly handled by old pros who know what they're doing. In its grown-up seriousness and basis in historical conflict, Steven Spielberg's first feature since Lincoln three years ago joins the list of the director's half-dozen previous "war" films, but in its honoring of an American civilian who pulled off a smooth prisoner exchange between the East and West during a very tense period, the film generates an unmistakable nostalgia for a time when global conflict seemed more clear-cut and manageable than it does now. Spielberg's fourth collaboration with Tom Hanks, which world- premiered at the New York Film Festival and opens commercially on October 16, looks to generate stout box-office returns for Disney through the autumn season. For people of Spielberg's generation, the early years of the nuclear era and the stand-off between the United States and the Soviet Union represents a significant part of the fabric of childhood. With the passage of time, it's possible to tell stories of the time without furnishing them with overt propagandistic overlays, and for Westerners there is the added built-in appeal of the "we won" factor and the perception that dealing with adversaries was so much simpler then than it is now. As their focus in this impeccably rendered recreation of a moment in history, most palpably represented by the building of the Berlin Wall, Spielberg and screenwriters Matt Charman and Ethan and Joel Coen have chosen a sort-of Atticus Finch of the north, a principled, American Everyman insurance attorney unexpectedly paged to represent a high-level Soviet spy caught in New York. There is no question that Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) is guilty, but James B. Donovan (Hanks), a proper and decent family man with a professional dedication to his client and an abiding loyalty to the principles of the U.S. Constitution, has a quick and intuitive read of any legal situation and shrewdly stays at least one step ahead of the game in almost any situation.

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118 out of 161 people found the following review useful:

A very good, very Spielberg motion picture, starring Tom Hanks.

9/10
Author: subxerogravity from United States
18 October 2015

This movie hit me really strangely.

I was expecting a political drama about the cold war, and while indeed it was that, I was not expecting to have so much fun and for Bridge of Spies to be so humorous.

The Coen brothers writing a movie Steven Spielberg would direct just sounds like a winning combination and it really was. Sealing the deal, was a great performance by Tom Hanks.

Tom Hanks does what he does best, by playing an everyday man in an average life. James Donovan was just an insurance lawyer who gets caught up in the middle of the Cold War. Bridge of Spies, starts him off so normal and then turns his life into quite an adventure.

And I do mean adventure. In the hands of Spielberg, the movie's visuals were large and epic. I was expecting this movie to feel more like his last flick, Lincoln. Instead it feels more like Indiana Jones, as James Donovan travels to Berlin at the time when the wall was being completed.

Watching Hanks play Donovan who is just swept into an overwhelming situation and just keeps his cool and his charm is just highly enjoyable.

Totally loved Bridge of Spies, It's one of the best team ups between Hanks and Spielberg and even though Lincoln was a great movie, Bridge of Spies is everything Spielberg is capable of. So entertaining.

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69 out of 94 people found the following review useful:

"And the Best Supporting Actor Oscar goes to... Mark Rylance"

9/10
Author: bob-the-movie-man from United Kingdom
29 November 2015

There are combinations of film makers that make you confident, as you pay your ticket price, that you are not going to be terribly disappointed: Steven Spielberg directing; Tom Hanks taking the lead; Janusz Kaminski behind the camera; Michael Kahn editing and a Coen brothers script (with Matt Charmon (Suite Française)). And Bridge of Spies doesn't disappoint, particularly for someone of my more advanced years (I was born the year following the film's climatic events) who remembers well the terror of potential nuclear catastrophe that hung over the world through the 60's and 70's.

In a story based on true events, Hanks plays James Donovan (diverging somewhat from reality here) as an insurance lawyer dragged by his firm into defending Rudolf Abel, the accused Soviet spy played exquisitely by British stage acting legend Mark Rylance. Against this backdrop, the international blue touch paper is about to be lit by the shooting down over Russia of Gary Powers (Austin Stowell from "Whiplash") in his U-2 spy plane (sorry – "article"). Donovan becomes instrumental in unofficially negotiating on behalf of the US government the release of Powers in East Berlin. The deal is jeopardized by his boy-scout tendencies to also want to help another US captive Frederic Pryor (Will Rogers).

I've read some negative reviews of this film in the papers that made me quite cross, describing it as "yawnsome" and "sanctimoniously dull". For me, nothing could be further from the truth and the packed Saturday night audience I saw this with seemed equally gripped from beginning to end, silent save for the odd laugh where some appropriate humor is weaved into the story.

Tom Hanks is solid and believable as the fish-out-of-water lawyer, albeit that the role is played with a large spoonful of patriotic American sugar as Donovan trumpets about the importance of the constitution over the lynch-mob mentality of the general public. Alan Alda – great to see again on the big screen – channels his best Hawkeye-style exasperation as Donovan's boss, looking for a clean and quick conviction.

But it is Mark Rylance – an irregular player in movies, and due to appear again in next year's "BFG" – who shines out as the acting star of the film. His salubrious and calm turn as the cornered spy just reeks of class and if he isn't nominated for a Best Supporting Actor nomination for this then there is no justice. (A special 'casting recognition award' to my wife Sue for spotting that the actress playing Judge Byer's wife – Le Clanché du Rand – was Meg Ryan's mother in Sleepless in Seattle 22 years ago!)

The cinematography is superb with some gorgeous tracking shots and framed scenes. Most outstanding of all is the scene depicting the traumatic construction of the Berlin wall – long tracking shots in greys and blues delivering a truly breathtaking piece of cinema. In general I'd give a big shout-out to both the art department and the special effects team in making the desolation of East Berlin feel so real. It makes the similar scenes, that I commented positively on in the recent "Man from U.N.C.L.E." seem like an amateur school production.

The special effects team also contribute in making the shooting down of the U-2 a thrilling piece of cinema.

Music is sparingly and effectively used by Thomas Newman, and it can be no greater complement to the composer than that I was wondering until the end titles as to whether it was another Spielberg/ John Williams collaboration or not.

A great film, one of my favorites this year. Highly recommended, especially if you are over 50. You should also get out to a cinema to see this one – it will be far more effective on the big screen than the small one.

(Please visit http://bob-the-movie-man.com for the graphical version of this review. Thanks.)

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76 out of 110 people found the following review useful:

One of Spielberg's best most recent movies

9/10
Author: MrDHWong (dhwong89@live.com) from Australia
28 October 2015

Bridge Of Spies is a historical drama film starring Tom Hanks, co-written by the Coen brothers, and directed by Steven Spielberg. Even though its subject matter of the Cold War is something I know very little about, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am now more interested than ever to learn more about it. I rank it among the best of Spielberg's most recent movies.

In 1957, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War are at their peak. Spies from both the American CIA and Soviet KGB are a major threat to the security of both world powers and each side often resorts to hasty measures to stop any classified information from being leaked. In Brooklyn, New York, Rudolf Abel is arrested under the suspicion of being a spy. James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is assigned as Abel's defence lawyer. However the idea of defending a potential Soviet spy proves to be an unpopular and difficult task for Donovan. Meanwhile, over in the Soviet Union, an American spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers is shot down and captured by the KGB. As a means to ease tension between the two warring countries, Donovan proposes a swap between the two prisoners of war, Abel for Powers.

Despite containing barely any action scenes and being almost entirely made up of talking, the film never feels boring or slow paced. This is most likely due to the Coen brothers' clever screenplay and Steven Spielberg's creative direction. There were many suspenseful moments where it felt like the prisoner negotiations would go horribly wrong and that kept me on the edge of my seat. Tom Hanks also gives another memorable performance as James B. Donovan, once again proving his versatility as an actor.

I rate it 8.5/10.

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85 out of 141 people found the following review useful:

carries a spirit of all-American-ism without being too preachy, keeping a wit about it and Tom Hanks

9/10
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
8 October 2015

One of the surprising things about Bridge of Spies is not really that Steven Spielberg directed this story, which tracks the trial and then trade of a Russian spy in 1957 (an exchange for an American pilot, and someone else who I'll get to shortly). It's the kind of material that would attract Spielberg, especially with the hero of the story, Jim Donovan (Tom Hanks), who comes into a situation he shouldn't be involved with but not only can pull off talking and reasoning with people and finding the better side of a situation or person's nature. What's surprising in a way is the involvement of the Coen brothers with the script.

It's hard to say if Matt Charman was the primary writer (someone I'm not familiar with, not least on the level of his co-writers) and if the brothers came in on a polish. But watching the movie, it does make more sense - certainly more than Unbroken, which barely has their touch - since it carries a lot of dry wit in the exchanges between characters, in particular the opposing attitudes of people in this 'period' setting. Hanks' Donovan is a straight-shooting guy who believes in the constitution of the United States and wants to do right, legally speaking, by his client Rudolf (Mark Rylance in a fine, subtle supporting role), and doesn't really care per-say what he's done or didn't do. This doesn't fly well in a society that is overrun with Red-Scare fever and end up doing the worst of things when in total fear of things (i.e. the A-bomb, which gets a kind of cameo in the film in a way that Spielberg I'm sure has a personal connection with, being a child of the 50's, but I digress).

The Coens I think brought a sense of realism to things, but also stylization; the way characters talk at times there's a lot of things where people try to figure the other person out, which is fascinating to watch. When Donovan arrives at the first part of the mission he's given in the second part of the film, to do this exchange of the Russian for an American pilot caught by the enemy, he goes to the Russians and doesn't talk to the lawyer (who he thought to talk to) but some other official. Spielberg covers this expertly, going in on Hanks and the other actor at just the right moments to emphasize things getting tenser - another young American, a student caught up in the mix of things (it IS East Berlin, after all) - but the script dictates a lot of the momentum here. And at the same time the Coens aren't necessarily making it 'Coens-y', in a manner of speaking; they serve their filmmaker extremely well, giving a light air to a good number of scenes in a way that keeps the tension and suspense in a good balance.

In a way it's interesting to get this so soon after The Martian, also in theaters: two films about perilous situations and men caught in a struggle to survive, and two stories that benefit from some levity. Between the two though, Bridge of Spies is the more serious affair, and certainly Spielberg has a lot thematically on his plate. The story takes place during the Cold War time, but it's really a war-war (so to speak, sorry, couldn't find another way to put it), only with terse words and missions via the CIA instead of men on a battlefield. At the same time I feel like the message can, and probably will, resonate today; Spielberg knows that we're in times where it can be dubious whether people are put on trial and given proper legal counsel if they're suspected 'others' or combatants, and if they get the counsel who knows how the trial will go.

Bridge of Spies may have Hanks being, shall we say, Jimmy Stewart-like (I know other critics will or have), and is the guy the audience likes - his endearing characteristic in the second half, of all things, is a cold. But it's because Spielberg embraces this, as does Hanks in playing him, that he's a man who will stop at nothing to get done what needs to be done for a man's freedom and security (or how he sees it, so down the line, despite whatever happens in prison walls with glaring lights and big questions about this or that for information). Perhaps with a tougher kind of actor this wouldn't work, like I could never picture, say, Bruce Willis in this role. Hanks comes in and is unequivocal in his earnest desire for justice ("Everyone deserves a defense, every life matters" echoes another Spielberg motto in Schindler's List), and it's refreshing in a way to see this in a movie right now.

Two little issues: the film's ending is a little long, with a coda that feels like it stretches just a little longer than it should, albeit for a visual callback that does add a bittersweet tinge that is welcome and interesting; and the lack of a John Williams score (the first for Spielberg in 30 years) is startling. Thomas Newman isn't bad at his work, but it's unremarkable, and doesn't give certain scenes that do need a little extra punch or kick that 'Spielberg' type of music. It's hard to describe it, but I feel it when I do, especially during the climax.

Aside from those small points, this is near-classic work by this director, with a star in top form who is wholly convincing. It's also a wholesome movie in that old-time Hollywood sense, but not in a way that should date it any time soon; it takes a stand for what should be held accountable for those accused, and that, really, having a good insurance policy is maybe the only policy that's logical.

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75 out of 123 people found the following review useful:

Turkey Without The Gravy

6/10
Author: teddyryan from United States
19 October 2015

I am biased in my review of BRIDGE OF SPIES. The Cold War is my thing, always has been my thing. I am dazzled by that time in history: surveillance, the cars, CIA, Eisenhower, and the mystique of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

From the trailer of this film, I expected a delicious plate of Cold War atmosphere, intrigue, and commentary. Like a gleeful child, I sprinted to the movie theatre – expecting a non-pretentious high octane version of Mad Men. I anticipated my favorite era in history being served up like LET ME IN (a piece of 1980s period perfection elegantly directed by Matt Reeves).

I held close the trailer as I landed my perfect middle seat in the theatre. The clips of a U2 Surveillance jet spiraling at 70,000 feet, children overflowing in tears as they watch a thermonuclear film strip, and Tom Hanks' face plastered to a subway window as we see guards firing at bystanders trying to climb over the Berlin Wall.

Then you add Steven Spielberg to the mix – the master of the period piece – modern cinema - the evoker of our deepest emotions. One of my favorite Spielberg films is Munich. Munich captures the violence of the Middle East 70s with revere, respect, and revelation. This is what I wanted from Bridge Of Spies. I wanted a dark, harrowing portrait of the Cold War, I wanted this tense era exposed in Spielbergian fashion, and I wanted to have 1957-1961 ruminating in my heart, mind, and belly. Bridge of Spies, however, met none of my desired expectations.

Diluted by a PG-13 rating, filled with comedic moments (clearly due to the Coen Brothers having written or participated in this script) that don't tickle my fancy, and an avoidance of Cold War atmosphere – Bridge Of Spies hit me like a tennis ball on the head.

It's taught, adequately plotted, and the hero is smart, likable, and witty. It's garnered rave reviews. But, for anyone that likes substance, don't look here. Spielberg's story is a moral tale – of courage and standing up for one's ideals – the universal plot which Steven devours like a hungry child.

Unfortunately, there's no stakes. Hanks follows his journey and does what he does best – but his universe is given little context. You'll want turkey and you'll get turkey – but you're not getting any gravy.

**Possible Spoilers – Things that bugged me about the film was plethora of wasted opportunities. When you have Spielberg at the helm, you know what could have been –

1. The relationship between the Lawyer (Hanks) and the Soviet Captive (Mark Rylance) is an unbalanced paper weight. We get a glimpse into the Lawyer's character, the archetypal Tom Hanks - fair, honest, moral, etc. We get very little info on the Captive. He is quiet, dignified, and keeps responding to Hanks wondering if he is aware of his dire situation, "Would it help?" Rylance is the typical Spielbergian "caught in the middle guy" – much like Ben Kingsley in Schindler's List. Physically weak, trapped and powerless - yet stoic and unafraid. That being said, what are his motives? He is a spy but what drives him – where is the monologue where he explains his background, what formed and shaped him and what forms the basis of his lifelong goals?

2. What I love about Mad Men is its strong focus on the media and culture of the era. Except for the end of Bridge of Spies (where we get a clip of Pierre Salinger informing the news of the spy swap) and an early scene of a teenage girl watching a late night story, there's not much to nibble on – Spielberg wastes a huge opportunity in a class room scene where kids are watching a nuclear bomb film strip. Lifting the film strip like a YouTube Clip and then showing a few generic shots of kids watching it and one girl crying - the master of modern cinema stumbles and falls into shallow surf. In this instance, I wanted to yell at the editor – build this up, let it seep in, give us some Wonder Years or Let Me In flavor. There's none to be had –

3. Not only do we get a vapid Francis Gary Powers – due to lackluster character development and the miscasting (in my opinion), but the U2 Surveillance storyline is about 12 minutes. Give me at least 25, Steven!! When the U2 is shot out of the sky, we get about a minute of action – give us three. In addition, because Francis Gary Powers has no character development, I don't sympathize with him or even care if he comes home.

4. The PhD student who is included in the Prisoner Swap is devoid of character – another guy that I could care less if he makes it home. Both guys appeared to have a lackluster indifferent time over the in the USSR. The Soviets dowsed Powers with water and German soldiers rip up the PHD students thesis paper – oh no!

5. There is no discussion of the disastrous political implications of the U2 being shot down over the Soviet Union. Reluctant to authorize the mission, Eisenhower was smeared by its failure and left office of the President on a black cloud. However, we don't hear Eisenhower's name mentioned once in the story.

All and all, Spielberg delivers a cup of vanilla ice cream with fudge – most audiences are going to love Hanks and the Soviet spy.

In the final analysis, it's a buddy film with some period costumes and a somewhat poignant conclusion. That being said, those that want a stirring pot of fear, sadness, and elation – I suggest you wait for this on HBO and watch Munich instead.

Ted's Personal Enjoyment: C+

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50 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

Spielberg and Hanks--fry to find a better duo than that for a great film.

Author: jdesando from United States
19 October 2015

"Everyone deserves a defense. Everyone matters." James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks)

In Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg once again masterfully goes to the historical drama with a righteous man's theme (think Schindler and Lincoln for starters). This time lawyer James B. Donovan is asked to defend an accused Soviet spy, Rudolf Able (Mark Rylance, superb), in order to show the world the American justice system is democratic.

The story is "inspired by true events" with the outline of the exchange of Able for U-2 downed pilot Gary Powers historically accurate. As usual, Spielberg recreates the times with the atmosphere, cars, and film noir aspect of a spy thriller in the figurative and literal Cold War. He said, "I always wanted to tell the stories that really interested me in my personal life—which are stories about things that actually happened."

Hanks is central to Spielberg's vision of the lone hero defying the odds and supporting the highest ideals of the American Constitution and the individually virtuous man. Never does Hanks overplay the good-guy card; he's just very adept at playing an everyman not always right but always righteous.

The dialogue is crisp, a no fooling around typical of Spielberg and Hanks but a charming bad guy as well: James Donovan: "Aren't you worried?" Rudolf Abel: "Would it help?" As producer Kristie Macosko Krieger commented about Spielberg, "He's got a childlike sense of wonder. He never gets tired of hearing stories . . . . " Bridge of Spies is vintage Spielberg with a Lincoln-like atmosphere, righteous hero, and intriguing multi-plot, an entertaining spy story brimming with humanity.

As the director says, "This is more about very smart people in conversation with each other, and the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads is that, if they make the wrong decisions, it's the end of the world."

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29 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Lukewarm Coldwar Drama by Spielberg with many painful grimaces by Hanks

4/10
Author: Alex Deleon from United States, Europe
8 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

BRIDGE of SPIES, Spielberg // Starring Tom Hanks in Lukewarm Coldwar drama.

Summary: Uninspired Spielberg Mountain from Molehill with pitiful Hanks in Pain throughout. Viewed at Colisée cinema, Marrakesh, Friday Dec. 4, 2015. By Alex Deleon. With so many intriguing Cold War subjects up for grabs one wonders what made Steven Spielberg choose this relatively minor Cold War incident as the subject matter of his latest directorial effort.

The background: In the summer of 1960 an American high altitude spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union and pilot Gary Powers who bailed out and survived was interned by the Russians. At about the same time a big time Russian spy with US citizenship was arrested and put on trail for treason in the USA. Idealistic New York attorney James Donovan (Hanks) defends him in court and is then recruited by the CIA to facilitate an exchange of this spy for captured U2 spy plane pilot Powers in Berlin. The exchange took place in divided Berlin on Feb. 20, 1962 at the height of the Kennedy administration six months prior to the Cuban Missiles crisis.

The foreground: The result: a big disappointment with a heavy handed script by the Coen Brothers and some very bad acting in a long tedious dragged out attempt to elevate this subject to the level of Greek tragedy with Tom Hanks pulling slightly different variations of a pained face in every scene he's in, which is most of the picture. Greek tragedy this is not, although we are compelled to feel a little sorry for Hanks when his steadfast defense of the American Constitution is met with hate, derision, and even death threats from his fellow Americans, and then he has to hide his dangerous spy exchange trip from his own family when he volunteers to go to Berlin on a thankless top secret mission to ease cold war tensions and save an American college student stranded in East Berlin into the bargain. En somme:to sum up --

From The combination Spielberg/Hanks and the setting in Berlin, a city I know so well, I expected much more. This turned out to be a routine, almost soppy Hanks performance and a very routine uninspired turn by Spielberg at the helm. First of all I remember the era of the film very well and it did not seem to me at the time to be nearly the momentous event it is built up to be in this film. If lawyer Donavan (Hanks) was in the news for a while it certainly wasn't a very big while, and the spy exchange at the bridge was merely seen as a minor event in much more momentous cold war Events of the time such as the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1962 and The Cuban missile crisis in October 1962. I remember thinking at the time that it was nice for our side to admit for once that We also Spy and thought that might be the ball Spielberg would run with. But the mawky family drama we are given, and the overall talkiness with little backup action, plus the building up of the the exchange on the Berlin bridge in freezing winter weather to an event of Superbowl proportions simply does not have the drama we are supposed to think it had. Overall, a dud that fails to go off in a stagy unrecognizable Berlin. Recommended only for die-hard Tom Hankniks who sympathize with Mr. next-door America, no matter what he does. As for the Cold War political background -- Google tells it much better. (Google, Gary Powers, U2 incident) Alex, Marrakesh.

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38 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

"It doesn't matter what people think. You know what you did."

4/10
Author: Rogermex from The Zone
18 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spielberg knows what he did, but I have a few thoughts. Let's start with the title - You know, there's only one "spy" per se, who matters anyway. But it makes it sound like some thriller-diller, eh?

Now Tom Hanks - uh, what's with that incredibly furrowed, knit brow all through the story. Makeup Oscar time? Did they borrow it from a Klingon?

The woman who plays Donovan's wife? I know she's supposed to be convincingly all 1950s square - but really, heels and full lipstick all the time? Smiling at everything? At least they didn't plug in Jessica Chastain, that would not have been credible opposite Donovan's shlubby character. A performance as flat as one of those pancakes in the big American breakfast he never ate.

The youth are not at this movie, they're all out to see the latest vampire/zombie/Tom Cruise dreck. So the boomers out to see an ennobling patriotic drama have lived through all this, including "duck and cover" and the Missile Crisis. Do those of us who actually were terrorized and traumatized by all that really need pedantic little lessons about the bombs and the sirens, delivered by Donovan's delusional little genius son? I found it insulting.

Of course, all the Russians are scene-chewing geeky monsters, sometimes in such close-up we can see the beet-bits in their teeth.

Gosh, it was cold in that Cold War! So we have to see everyone blowing and wiping their noses, boogers hanging, in order to get the idea?

Exception: Mark Rylance, the only great thing about the movie. I've been watching Rylance in "Wolf Hall," and it's very impressive how he can create such a level of charismatic tension by hardly doing anything at all. He's all stillness, posture, little eye movements and gazes, all restrained, all coiled in. Amazing.

Back to the thriller at hand. So in the big spectacle scene where the U2 gets shot down, did Spielberg really need to show off, proving "Oh, I can do 'Gravity,' I can do 'The Walk'" just for bragging cred? And is it actually historically true that Powers gripped on to edge of his crumbling cockpit and just failed to hit the destruct button before his tether broke? (OH! is that a sneaky symbolic allusion to 'aborting' a mission?)

This whole thing could have been done as a 15-minute documentary (not that I'd like seeing another documentary) rather than puffed up into a dry and predictable "drama. When we see Hanks' character lying face down on his bed at home because he's so beat, I suppose if I were him I'd be concerned to hide my face for having accepted another such stereotypical heroic individual little man role.

Do nasty CIA agents really skip into the air in peevish excitement like an 11-year old when they get frustrated? (Oh, they probably do.)

It might have been more exciting to get into a row with the dopey woman in the seats behind us who kept aggravating my wife by kneeing and bumping the back of her seat - but "Would it help?"

So the Coen brothers helped write this. I guess Spielberg thought it might be more tasty to shmear some funky mustard on this baloney sandwich, but "Would it help?" My fantasy is that the Coens were often snickering up their sleeves.

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