The Standing Man.

One of the best films this year. Here’s a review of Bridge Of Spies.


The opening of the movie was wonderful. We don’t see a man, but we see him painting a portrait of himself, which is incomplete. While the scene has nothing amazing in terms of magnitude, the simplicity of the scene is what sets the tone for the rest of the movie, which is a wonderful affair.

Spielberg is a man from whom there are high expectations. He is one director constantly under pressure, and yet rises up to the occasion. This movie features a man of the same kind, James Donovan (Tom Hanks). Donovan is a lawyer who was called by the American government to defend a Soviet spy, Rudolph Abel. While the entire country wants to watch the latter burn, the former chooses to treat him like he does any other client, which sparks outrage amongst his family, his office, and the entire country. He decides to mount a defence for a man who’s guilty of stealing of the country’s secrets. He argues that Abel is man first, and a spy next. He successfully exploits the humanitarian aspect and saves Abel from the electric chair.

Once a young pilot, Francis Gary Powers, is captured by the Russians, things get complicated. Eventually, a prisoner exchange is looked upon as a solution and Donovan is sent in as the negotiator for various political reasons. Donovan doesn’t try to do what’s asked of him, he tries to go beyond it.

Tom Hanks is amazing. It is impossible to state it enough. The closest anyone can come to stating that in its entirety is by calling this performance as one of the best of his career. Hanks is one man who can be anyone. He’s possibly the most versatile actor we have, and that is clearly reflected in this movie. James Donovan is a wartime hero. A hero afflicted by common cold. A hero who is nothing more than a man. And to play a hero like that is a deceivingly difficult task, but Hanks is the man.

One other performance that shouldn’t go unnoticed is Mark Rylance as Rudolph Abel. The sequences with Hanks and Rylance are brilliantly written, and even more brilliantly executed. Both are men who love their country, who know how people think. They are men of both thought and action.

This is a brilliant movie. The effortlessness in the flow of the movie is a clear reflection of the effort and work that the entire team has put in. The movie is built on dialogue, wonderful dialogue. The Coen brothers, as usual, show their flair with the pen. The seamless editing, the attention to the minor details, and the brilliant acting all make up a movie that is one of the best Spielberg has directed, and arguably the best movie this year. Bridge Of Spies is a movie worth every penny you spend, and by the end of it, you know you have just witnessed something amazing.

NOTE: This review was originally posted here, dated 8 November, 2015.


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