Director Steven Spielberg recounts the U-2 spy incident in “Bridge of Spies”
BY ANNA NICHOLS
Duration: 135 minutes
Director Steven Spielberg’s latest film “Bridge of Spies” captures the true story of a painstaking trade between the Soviet Union and the U.S during the Cold War. Both nations have captured an enemy spy and both nations want their rightful spy back. It is a suspenseful film with inspiring dialogue about justice and morals, chronicling a time where such things were at the brink of collapse.
“Bridge of Spies” was released Oct. 16 and within two days of release acquired a box office sale of $15.4 million dollars, according to Rentrak. The film is being well received by the public, but is attracting a more mature demographic, with the vast majority of younger moviegoers storming the theaters for more popular films.
The film’s hesitant hero, lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks), agrees to defend Soviet spy Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance) in a trial that seems doomed from the start. The always cool under pressure spy is arrested in his Brooklyn apartment due to an illegitimate search by the FBI. Before he is taken he is able to destroy an important message he had just received, Donovan faces great adversity and danger as he tries his hardest to defend his client. Just an insurance lawyer with a little experience in prosecution of criminal law, Donovan is never expected to save Abel from death row.
Throughout the film though it seems as though Donovan is the only person who truly desires to uphold what it means to be an American, trying to serve justice. He is the lone voice of reason in an atmosphere of panic and tension.
Abel’s trial creates quite the ruckus amongst the American public and paparazzi. The courtroom dissolves into chaos after Donovan is able to convince the judge to forgo the death sentence and instead rule 30 years imprisonment. Soon after, American spy pilot, Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell), is captured as well as the young Frederic Pyor (Will Rogers), a civilian. Abel becomes the most valuable asset to America to get the captured spies back.
A trade is arranged, and Abel will be returned in place of Powers and Pyor. Once again the unlikely hero, James Donovan, is sucked back into the world of spies, bureaucracy and danger. Donovan has to fight both sides for the trade and displays bravery that inspires viewers. Donovan puts value not only on the life and liberty of Powers the pilot and Pyor the civilian, but also Abel the Soviet spy. His adamant willingness to do the unpopular thing, defending the human rights of everyone and upholding the constitution, ultimately puts his life in danger.
“Bridge of Spies” is a fantastic film overall. The dramatic style in tight framing and wide shot, each done at just the right moment keeps viewers in a state of suspense until the very end. Shot with ominous lighting, the film has an easily distinguishable worrisome atmosphere. The subject matter itself, a fragile, seemingly impossible trade at such a combustible point in history makes for a truly thrilling film. Watch to see what happens to Donovan, Abel, Powers and Pyor.