Introducting and Reviewing OF The BRIDGE OF SPIES

Starring: Tom Hanks (Donovan); Mark Rylance (Abel); Amy Ryan (Mrs Donovan); Alan Alda (Watters)

Screenplay: Matt Charman, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Director: Steven Spielberg
Rating: 12A


It’s 1957: the height of the Cold War in America while all that stands between Rudolf Abel and death is an insurance lawyer from Brooklyn.It is clear that the plan is to hold a kangaroo court and bump off the man as quickly as possible, and Donovan will do as an attorney. But for the American government, they picked the wrong man. Donovan decided to save this man’s life.However, when Francis Gary Powers, pilot of an American U-2 spy plane, is shot down over the Soviet Union, a perfect opportunity arises. Donovan will exchange Abel for Powers. Unfortunately for Donovan this exchange will take place on the Bridge of Spies in East Germany. This is not the safest of places on the earth. Undaunted, nevertheless, Donovan embarks on this dangerous mission, determined to do all he can for whoever needs his help.

“Everyone deserves a defence. Every person matters” explains insurance lawyer James B Donovan when quizzed by his wife on why exactly he is defending a Soviet KGB spy.

Although the lead character (Donovan) is played by Tom Hanks, for me, the star of the film is Mark Rylance (Abel). Donovan asks him “Do you ever worry?” To which Abel responds endearingly “Would it help?” His unflappable,calm, slightly bewildered appearance allows him not only to cleverly fool the FBI, but also draw sympathy towards him.

If you want to watch a cold war thriller packed full of intriguing dialogue, splashes of spectacular cyan-tinted cinematography of burnt out East Germany, and sublime acting by Rylance in particular, this is the film for you.