Bridge of Spies, the latest collaboration of Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks came highly recommended from a friend of the wife, plus it has some high level Oscar nominations, including Best Picture (not that I care, just pointing out how highly regarded it is by others), so we watched it last night.
Boy, this is a weak movie. In relative terms, of course. There are are weak movies that are made by no names on shoestring budgets every year, and weak movies made by people you expect more from. Such was the case with this movie. It’s one of those “based on true stories” things that makes you wonder why was THIS particular story THAT compelling that it attracted such high power Hollywood talent? When it was done and over, it made me feel the same about the currently-in-release Concussion, starring The Fresh Prince (though to be fair, I haven’t seen this one). Is the subject matter really that interesting that it warrants a gravitas-laden treatment?
At no time during Bridge of Spies did I ever feel I was watching something that needed to be told. Certainly, in documentary fashion, this event is worth noting, but as an exercise in dramatic storytelling, I don’t think so. I didn’t find the story compelling, and nor did I feel that at any time Hanks’ character really had much of anything to lose. It’s kind of implied that his career might be on the line, it’s kind of implied that he might be in danger going to East Berlin … but I never felt that any of these dangers ever seemed concrete, and the lack of tension in a story that should have been filled with it was very distracting. Speaking of distracting, I went through the entire first half of the movie wondering why a supposed Russian spy on American soil had a Scottish accent. No explanation other than he held a “British passport” and he might be from “the north of England”. Surely some calls to the British embassy might have been warranted?
Well made, with a typical everyman performance from Hanks, but ultimately disappointing, given the talent here.