Support act stars in Cold War spy saga
Set in frigid snowy New York and Germany this movie epitomises the Cold War The long chilly spy drama captures a moment in 1960 when the Soviets, East Germans and Americans were snarling at each other. Times don’t really change.
After American U2 spy plane pilot Gary Powers was shot down over Russia, the deal was that he be swapped for Soviet spy Rudolf Abel. The film is named after the Glienicke Bridge in Germany where the exchange was made.
Enter Tom Hanks, in his first role since Saving Mr Banks two years ago. He plays James Donovan, an insurance attorney with a conscience, chosen by the CIA to act as an intermediary with the Soviets.
Hanks is his competent self, 59 these days, playing a lawyer with liberal values who defies his countrymen to defend the spy. Even his wife and kids rail against him for it.
My hero though was English theatre actor Mark Rylance who plays the taciturn Abel in an excellent supporting role with his clipped, clever dialogue courtesy of the Coen brothers. His impassive facial expression doesn’t change.
Spielberg could have asked his actors to have more realistic German and Russian accents and the crowd, train and military scenes tended to be over-acted.
Actor Mark Rylance, centre, plays impassive Russian spy Rudolf Abel alongside Tom Hanks in Steven Speiberg’s Bridge of Spies.