Review: “Bridge of Spies” is More than Meets the Eye


Kaitlyn Cashdollar, Reporter

“Bridge of Spies,” is a true story about an defense attorney who is hired by the government to defend a Soviet spy in 1957. As the movie progresses, an American spy is also captured by the Soviet Union, and the attorney is hired to handle the exchange between the two. Things get complicated when yet another American is taken prisoner, and the attorney has to choose between saving the two.

This past weekend, Mark Rylance’s won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, for his role as the Soviet spy, Rudolf Abel. Rylance’s character was not a prominent one. He played in a select few scenes, but was able to charm us with the little time he had on screen. Even when Abel is sentenced guilty, and has the possibility of the death penalty, he is very relaxed. Abel seemed to be either very talented at acting carefree, or just was that way naturally. Overall though, I do not think it was an Oscar worthy performance. His character was too quite, and should have been given more lines and scenes. I didn’t care about him as much, because it was obvious that freeing him wasn’t the main goal.

The movie in general was low key. You had to pay close attention to most scenes up until the very end. In the beginning, the main focus was proving Abel’s innocence. It was very slow, and felt forced, but once they got to the section of the movie that was set in Berlin, it started to flow a little more.

As I stated previously, parts of the movie were set in foreign countries, and multiple scenes were in different languages. There were no subtitles, but the actors still managed to do an amazing job of explaining the occurring event without translated words. In one scene, Donovan’s coat is stollen.  It is entirely in German, but it is still evident what is going on.

One of the major themes of the movie is justice. Tom Hanks’ character, James Donovan, is faced with proving Abel’s innocence, even when it means risking the safety of him and his family. How are we as people supposed to do what we think is right, even when everyone else is against it? Donovan does a marvelous job of simutaniously following what his heart tells him, and what his brain tells him.

First looking at the summary of this movie, it might not attract most high schooler’s attention; however, it is more than just meets the eye. Although it is slow at times, it is overall a very well put together movie. The transition from scene to scene was brilliantly planned. For some scenes, especially towards the end, you don’t realize your heart is pounding and your on the edge of your seat until you remind yourself it’s just a movie. You get nervous for the characters because the acting is so well done. In the end, it is defiantly worth the watch.