Movie Review: Bridge of Spies is one of the best of 2015

Bridge of Spies is an incredible movie. We'll get that out of the way right here up front so that those of you who just read movie reviews as a tool in aiding your decision on whether to see it or not can get up from the computer (or put the phone down) and go see it.

You want to see this flick. Period.

Bridge of Spies is a tale about James Donovan (Tom Hanks), a real-life lawyer who was instrumental in helping secure the release of an American spy plane pilot shot down during the height of the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union. He negotiates for the release in an exchange of sorts, offering up the convicted Soviet spy Rudolf Abel.

What you have here is a movie with very little action, but plenty of political drama and intrigue. And you might think there's no possible way you could be entertained by a movie about neogtiations for well over two hours, but we're here to tell you that you will be entertained. A lot. Because for starters, the performance by Mark Rylance—an absolute living legend in British theatre—as Abel will blow you away. He's outstanding and, if there is justice in the world, he will be up for best supporting actor despite his limited scenes.

So it's the height of the Cold War (as we mentioned) and both the U.S. and U.S.S.R. have spies in each other's countries, dallying about and sending back information to their respective homelands. Each side knows it. Everyone knows it. But there is a difference between knowing it and publicly acknowledging it. The United States won't admit that its pilot shot down from 70,000 feet in the air in a super-powered spy plane was actually a spy, and the Soviets, well, they deny that Abel is even Russian in the first place.

Enter Donovan, played perfectly by Hanks. He's an insurance lawyer who kinda gives you the skeevies at the beginning, but you're absolutely rooting for him by the end. He's tasked with the job of defending Abel, and you can imagine that defending a Soviet spy during an era where neighbors turned on each other and accused them of being spies, well, it probably doesn't go over too well. Still, Donovan stays the course because he believes in the system and in the right for everyone to go through due process.

After defending Abel, he is tasked with negotiating with the Soviets beacuse America, you see, can't admit that they even have a spy in Russia, because that would mean war. So Donovan, a citizen with no government ties or role, is sent to East Germany right after the wall is built to negotiate for the American pilot's release. What ensues is a gripping tale of espionage and gamesmanship that is one of the best movies of 2015.

Yes, I said it. This is one of the best flicks of 2015, a crowd pleaser that will also be up for an Oscar. And in an era where Steven Spielberg makes some remarkably bad movies, it's a reminder that the man actually knows what he's doing. This is his best movie since Saving Private Ryan, and that's saying a lot.

Go see this. Right now.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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