If you’re looking for a good story and with quality acting rolled into an excellent movie, Bridge of spies is it. Tom Hanks has done it again — he manages to get involved with some of the best movies in Hollywood. Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by the Coen brothers, Bridge of Spies will probably get an Oscar nod. Based on a true story, Bridge of Spies features life in the late 50s when the US was still engaged in a cold war with the Soviet Union and after Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for being spies in 1953. Unlike the Rosenberg’s, Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) was not a US citizen but from the Soviet Union. He was an artist who lived in Brooklyn. After a search of his room turned up evidence that supported the claim that he was in fact a spy for the KGB, he was arrested and tried as a Russian spy. In good faith, the CIA appointed a top attorney to represent Rudolf named James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks), a lawyer who specializes in insurance settlements. While no one took the trial or his defense seriously, James Donovan did. Battling to give Rudolf the best defense he could, James was up against anger, threats and violence from everywhere over his representation of the much hated Russian spy. Of course, he lost the trial and the sentence for a death penalty was before Chief Justice Earl Warren (Edward James Hyland). James ended up going to the judge’s home to convince him to sentence Rudolf to 30 years in prison instead of the electric chair. When asked why, James said, he might come in handy as an exchange one day. As it turned out, a pilot named Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) was shot down over Soviet territory while taking unauthorized pictures for the military. He was captured and tried. In the meanwhile an American economics graduate student, Frederic Pryor (Will Rogers) visits his German girlfriend in East Berlin just as the Berlin Wall is being built. He tries to bring her back into West Berlin, but is stopped by Stasi agents and arrested as a spy. This gave the US a lot to negotiate. Again, James was used in this spy scenario to set up meetings and negotiate between Russia, Germany and the US. This is a very touching story as well as enlightening. There’s a lot of history here. I think this movie is a hit and worthy of your time and a movie ticket to see it unfold on the big screen. The cast is brilliant. Alan Alda plays Thomas Watters, Jr., James Donovan’s boss at the insurance company and Amy Ryan plays Mary Donovans, James’ wife. Check it out if you can.
[BRIDGE OF SPIES is nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Original Score, Production Design, Sound Mixing and Original Screenplay]