Friday, October 23, 2015
Bridge of Spies (a movie review post)
Also, it's Tom Hanks, and Hanks isn't stretching himself beyond being Hanks in this one. Of course, as with Spielberg, that comes with a particular level of quality, which means he's excellent as James Donovan. Or he's excellent at being Hanks as Donovan. Let's just say he didn't push himself into some other mold as he did in Saving Mr. Banks and Cast Away.
Mark Rylance, though, is great. Maybe it's that I'm not really familiar with him as an actor, but he is great in his role as Rudolf Abel.
Of course, the main issue with judging the acting is that there is nothing to compare these roles to. I mean, there is no model of behavior to compare Hanks' portrayal of Donovan against, not like there was with his portrayal of Walt Disney or Day-Lewis' portrayal of Lincoln. In that, we have to take the characters as they appear on screen, which, maybe, is why Hanks is ultimately just Hanks. He's not trying to be a particular James Donovan, just a Hanks James Donovan.
All of which is to say that this is a finely acted movie with high production values, exactly what you'd expect. And the history seems to be pretty spot on, which is something I find important.
And I really enjoyed it. It's a good spy movie, much in the vein of the two George Smiley BBC series with Alec Guiness, especially the section where the CIA sends Donovan into East Germany, a man with no "spy training" -- he's just a lawyer -- and tells him to just feel the situation out and figure out what to do.
I don't know that it's actually an Oscar-level movie, neither the movie itself nor Hanks, but it's good. Really good. If you don't know anything about the time period, it's definitely worth seeing.