Bridge of Spies (M) Steven Spielberg’s first film in three years is a gripping real-life Cold War story of the arrest and trial of a Soviet spy (Mark Rylance) in New York and the efforts of his appointed defence counsel (Tom Hanks) to see that he’s treated fairly. The film, co-scripted by the Coen brothers, also encompasses the story of Gary Powers, the pilot of the U-2 spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union, and its aftermath. One of this fine film’s incidental achievements is to make the viewer care about the fate of the Soviet spy who, we are reminded, is only doing the job to which he was assigned.
Crimson Peak (M) Mexican director Guillermo del Toro likes his ghost stories and fairytales. Del Toro has said of Crimson Peak that he wanted to make an old-fashioned haunted-house film such as the ones he watched in his youth, citing The Omen, The Amityville Horror and “the Everest of haunted-house movies”, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Unfortunately, Crimson Peak is not even in the foothills. It’s main problem is it just isn’t scary. Another missed opportunity with del Toro’s film: the cast seems to take it far too seriously. The set-up — a dilapidated mansion in northern England, the creepy brother and sister who live in it, the American heiress who moves in — lends itself to a bit of melodramatic humour, but there is almost none. It’s all so earnest and, as a result, preposterous.
Stephen Romei The Walk (PG) Robert Zemeckis and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski recreate the feat achieved in 1974 by Frenchman Philippe Petit (Joseph GordonLevitt) when he crossed from the north to the south tower of the ill-fated World Trade Centre in New York on a narrow wire. The use of 3-D makes this extraordinary adventure appear all too real (sufferers from vertigo, beware!), but unfortunately the rest of the film fails to live up to the climax, with lacklustre treatment of the events that led to the walk, and Gordon-Levitt, with his very strange French accent, miscast in the leading role.
Legend (MA15+) Tom Hardy is exceptional in his dual role as Reggie and Ronnie Kray, the gangster twins whose criminal activities in London’s East End and Soho involved politicians in the 1960s. Australian Emily Browning is also very fine as the teenage girl who, against the wishes of her parents, married the superficially charming Reggie and lived to regret it. Brian Helgeland’s very well made thriller is certainly violent, but Hardy’s contribution makes it essential viewing.