Bridge of Spies
Steven Spielberg continues a mini slump with his second good-looking yet terminally boring historical drama in a row after Lincoln. This is Spielberg's fourth collaboration with Tom Hanks, and their first since 2004's terrible The Terminal. It doesn't represent a return to Catch Me if You Can and Saving Private Ryan glory. This film certainly had a lot going f or it. Not only is it Spielberg's take on spying during the 1960s Cold War, which sounds like it should be exciting, but it's also a collaboration with the Coen Brothers. Joel and Ethan chipped in on the screenplay, which usually means good things are afoot. I wish Joel and Ethan had directed it, too. Hanks plays James B. Donovan, a U.S. tax attorney who lands the unenviable task of representing recently captured alleged Russian spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance). While Donovan's law firm and the courts see the whole thing as an open-and-shut case, Donovan makes it known that his intentions are to represent Abel to the full extent of the law. In a parallel story, some pilots join the CIA in a new spying program with U-2 planes. One of those planes getting shot out of the sky at 70,000 feet gives the Russians their own spy prisoner in Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell). With the construction of the Berlin Wall, yet another “spy” is captured when Frederic Pryor (Will Rogers), an American student who picked a crappy time to study in West Berlin, is apprehended by the East Germans. It all adds up to a rather boring time at the movies despite a typically strong Hanks performance.