By Magdalena Rattunde
In 1960, in the midst of of the Cold War, U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers takes to the air in a Lockheed U-2 airplane that reaches an altitude above 70,000 feet to gather intelligence by taking photographs of Soviet territories. His plane is shot down by the Soviet Union, and Powers is sentenced for 10 years in prison – and his only hope is a New York lawyer named James Donovan (Tom Hanks), recruited by the CIA to negotiate the release of his case.
Meanwhile, Donovan is also defending a Russian spy, Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), in the U.S. Supreme Court, to make sure he gets a fair trial. He boards a plane to Berlin, hoping for a prisoner exchange. If his plan works out, the Russians will get Rudolf Able and in exchange the U.S. will get freedom for Powers.
The plot of the movie “ Bridge of Spies,” a riveting film, is interesting to anyone who likes to watch movies based on a true story. It is not only entertaining, but also educates viewers about a historical event with relevance today.
Hanks is determined in the role of the lawyer James Donovan. While fighting for justice for the Russian spy Rudolf Abel, his character included how it is important to keep American values, even when it comes to a former enemy and what it means “to do the right thing”, even if everyone seems to have forgotten.
Mark Rylance plays the important role of the Russian spy kept hostage in the U.S. When Rudolf Abel asks him “Aren`t you worried?” he responds with “Would it help?” a line he delivers with brilliance. Rylance plays a fearless and very loyal man to his country, and his performance is incredibly convincing.
What especially makes the movie good is the way it also tries to view events from different perspectives. The Russian spy is not portrayed as a villain, but someone who is very loyal to his country just like U.S. spies in the Soviet Union. For the film to build sympathy for a character who would generally be the obvious bad guy is quite a feat.
Another thing that stands out about this movie is the general message the movie sends. “Doing the right thing”, especially in critical situations like the cold war, is always important and is what gets you to the best solution.
Altogether turning a historical movie into a non-boring spy thriller that is entertaining and exciting goes quite well and is definitely worth watching.