Cin­ema’s great pair­ing ex­tend their hot streak in the Cold War

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - FILM BRIGIT GRANT


(12A) epic re­sults ( Saving Pri­vate Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, Ter­mi­nal) and now this en­tic­ing and dy­namic Cold War spy thriller al­lows him to shine like the star he is.

Set in po­lit­i­cally frosty 1957, Hanks plays James Dono­van, a lawyer charged with the task of de­fend­ing Ir­ish­man Ru­dolf Abel (screen-steal­ing Mark Ry­lance) a re­flec­tive Rus­sian spy. Ar­gu­ing that Abel is coura­geous rather than treach­er­ous does not wash with the hos­tile Amer­i­can pub­lic but, when a US pi­lot is shot down over Rus­sia, Dono­van faces the big­ger task of ne­go­ti­at­ing a swap in East Berlin. That this is a real-life story makes it all the bet­ter. Even more so be­cause Spiel­berg in­vited the Coen broth­ers to add their unique blend of smart wit and wis­dom to Bri­tish play­wright Matt Char­man’s script. This is se­ri­ously grown-up cin­ema made by and star­ring some of the most tal­ented peo­ple on the planet. It sells it­self.

Un­like Sanna Lenken’s My Skinny Sis­ter which is a small, but finely acted in­de­pen­dent Swedish film about a young girl bat­tling the dilem­mas of pu­berty and her beau­ti­ful older sis­ter’s anorexia. Re­becka Joseph­son gives a glo­ri­ous de­but per­for­mance as 12-yearold Stella daz­zled and con­fused by the mood swings and body dys­mor­phia of Katja (Amy Di­a­mond) her sib­ling who gets all the at­ten­tion be­cause of her iceskat­ing tal­ent. As is the way with small in­de­pen­dents, My Skinny Sis­ter will strug­gle to get a weighty pres­ence at the box of­fice but, as its sub­ject — which is han­dled with in­tegrity and un­der­stand­ing — af­fects so many teenage girls, it should be on the school curriculum.

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