One of my favourite actors, Tom Hanks, is starring in a new movie, Bridge of Spies, directed by Steven Spielberg. I would have loved to have attended the screening for Bridge of Spies, however, I was not able to. So instead, I asked my friend Vanessa, from Turnipseed Travel, to attend on my behalf.
Here is Vanessa’s review of Bridge of Spies:
There’s two ways to tell that you’ve just seen a great movie. The second is when you go home and immediately try to learn all you can about the true events that the movie represents. But the first? That’s when you declare that Tom Hanks just won his third Oscar as soon as you leave the theatre.
Hank’s latest film, Bridge of Spies, takes us from Brooklyn and Manhattan and ultimately to Berlin’s Glienicke Bridge. Better known as the “Bridge of Spies”, Glienicke Bridge was a literal and metaphorical link between the East and West, between the Eastern Bloc and the American allies. As Hank’s character, lawyer James Donovan, navigates the morally difficult world of representing an accused Soviet spy, he is taken on a journey he never anticipated.
You’d expect the intense subject matter of Cold War legalities to be told with exuberant drama, and yet the buzz word of this film is restraint. It is a masterpiece of subdued acting skills, slow camera shots, and a style of storytelling that oozes like slow molasses. There are no poisoned umbrellas like you’d find in a spy novel and none of the heart pounding drama of an espionage film like Argo. This is the kind of story that draws you in to a certain age and era and even though you’re anxious to see how the situation resolves itself, you never want the story to end.
Like me, you’ll likely be jumping on your computer to learn more about the true events that the film is based on, but you’ll also find it helpful to do a bit of reading in advance. This film does assume you have a basic understand of the geo-political forces of the time. You don’t have to break out your history books here but a quick read on the Cold War relationship between the USSR and the USA will give context to all that you’re seeing on the screen. It’s an easy enough movie to follow but it doesn’t dumb things down for the audience either.
Hanks, as always, gives a superb performance but the real stand out surprise for me in this film was Mark Rylance as accused Soviet spy Rudolph Abel. It can’t be easy to bring a degree of likability to the role of a spy but Rylance’s version of Abel is utterly captivating. He has a dry sense of humor and he recognizes the humanity in others, from Hank’s Donovan to a very moving moment at the end of the film.
This is not a movie of good guys and bad guys and the characters don’t always match the lines drawn on the snow at Glienicke Bridge. But it the perfect film to watch during election season and it gives you a new appreciation for the ways of the world.
Vanessa is TurnipseedTravel’s creator, head writer, and social media curator. In her early days she was an extreme budget traveler out of necessity and travelled Europe on $35 a day. To this day she carries a flame for free museums and farmers’ market fare. Her obsession with packing light is a more recent development and her first suitcase featured such generous proportions she could fit inside it. Never exactly the world’s bravest soul, she still begins her journeys not entirely convinced on the merits of being adventurous, but that hasn’t stopped her from sailing to the Aran Islands, running a marathon in Paris, working on Malawian fish farms, and exploring global cultural nuances through nacho consumption.