Bridge of Spies

This has a pretty bad title. It's referring (pointlessly) to the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, as well as the historical Glieneke Bridge in Berlin which formed part of the border between East and West Germany, and was used more than once for the exchange of spies, as historically reconstructed here. Berlin's Tempelhof airport is also seen. The film goes to much trouble to get some things right, as this is a dramadoc - a name I've just thought of for a dramatised documentary, a fictionalised version of a piece of history - but it's also knowingly makes things up. Tom Hanks's character Jim has to look out of the train - the S-Bahn - to see people getting shot attempting to scale the Berlin Wall. This is required for a constrasting shot: when back in the US of A he looks out of another train down onto a street where citizens are peacefully going about their daily business unencumbered by walls. Jim Donovan never saw the first view, but Spielberg or his writers (who included the Coen brothers) wanted this rather naive conflation. They also wanted Donovan (and his family) to be seen to suffer a bit more than they actually did.

My big revelation was an actor called Mark Rylance (not his real name). I have somehow got through a long life without ever coming across this wonderful thesp. His performance in this won the film's only Oscar - deservedly. I saw a bit of the next Spielberg/Rylance film, The BFG (2016), but in hospital, when I wasn't able to give it my full attention due to recent anaesthetisation. It looked pretty bad, so I must have been out of it.

Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg, 2015)

Garry Gillard | New: 4 March, 2017 | Now: 4 March, 2017