Film review: Bridge of Spies

In Steven Spielberg’s Cold War–set Bridge of Spies, the first scene in which we see James Donovan (Tom Hanks), a former Nuremberg prosecutor who is now a partner at a prestigious New York City law firm and specializes in insurance matters, is all-important, despite the apparently pedestrian nature of its dialogue. Donovan is discussing a case in which a driver, who is a customer of the insurance firm he represents, had injured five motorcyclists. He sees it as one incident, and thus the firm would at most be liable for one claim not exceeding $100,000, instead of five separate claims, as the plaintiffs’ attorney maintains, each amounting to said amount.

Donovan’s logic will underpin the steadfastness, even stubbornness, of his actions in the second half of the film, during which he suddenly finds himself in East Berlin just as the wall has gone up and tries to facilitate the exchange of one Soviet spy for two Americans. Bridge of Spies, which refers to the Glienicke Bridge in Berlin that was often used to facilitate spy exchanges between West and East, opens in 1957 at the height of mutual spying operations between the United States and the Soviet Union, and in the opening sequence, federal agents close in on and arrest Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), a suspected Soviet agent. He is ultimately sentenced to long-term incarceration, but in the process, Donovan’s life changes completely in a way that sees Spielberg draw hearty albeit slightly soppy inspiration from Frank Capra.

For the full movie review, please visit The Prague Post.

Bridge of Spies is on circuit at major cinemas in Bulgaria, under the title Мостът на шпионите. In English with Bulgarian subtitles.