During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
As the American Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.
A murder inside the Louvre, and clues in Da Vinci paintings, lead to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years, which could shake the foundations of Christianity.
In the cold war, a lawyer, James B. Donovan is recruited by the CIA and involved in an intense negotiation mission to release and exchange a CIA U-2 spy-plane pilot, Francis G. Powers. The pilot was arrested alive after his plane was shot down by the Soviet Union during a mission and stays in the company of a KGB intelligence officer, Rudolf Abel, who was arrested for espionage in the US.Written by
The end result on-screen conveys not only the terror of the Berlin Wall, but the confusion as well. Steven Spielberg said: "The Berlin Wall was really symbolic, but it didn't look like San Quentin, or Alcatraz, or some other huge federal penitentiary. The walls were actually fairly easy to scale, you just didn't dare do it. When we shot those scenes, I looked at the Wall and thought to myself, 'Did this really happen? Was Berlin really divided like this?' It brought back a time in my life when walls started to go up all over the world, most of them invisible walls, but walls nonetheless." Tom Hanks added: "It was terrifying, and it felt so permanent, too. What production designer Adam Stockhausen was able to do with the wall, finding that perfect crossroads in the city of Breslau in Poland that matched up so well to the architecture of the time, was truly amazing." See more »
After the U-2 incident Donovan is in the office of the Secretary of State, to be told of the spy swapping proposal. He greets the Secretary as "Mr. Dulles". President Dwight Eisenhower's first Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, died in 1959. When the U-2 plane was shot down in 1960, Dulles' successor, Christian Herter, held the job.
The Abel for Powers exchange was approved by President Kennedy late in 1961, when the Secretary of State was Dean Rusk. See more »
Following his return to Russia, Rudolf Abel was reunited with his wife and daughter. He was never publicly acknowledged by the Soviet Union as a spy.
Gary Powers died in a helicopter crash in 1977, while working for KNBC news. He was posthumously awarded the CIA Director's Medal, and the USAF POW Medal in 2000, and the Silver Star in 2012.
In 1962, Frederick L. Pryor received his Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Economics and Senior Research Scholar...
[...] See more »
Concerto N. 2 for Piano and Orchestra Op 102
Written by Dmitri Shostakovich (as Dmitrij Dmitievi Shostakovich)
Performed by Andrey Gugnin, piano with The Moscow Chamber Orchestra
Conducted by Konstantin Orbelyan (as Constantine Orbelian)
Courtesy of Delos Productions
By arrangement with Source/Q See more »
"And the Best Supporting Actor Oscar goes to... Mark Rylance"
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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