Bridge of Spies ★★★★½

"Bridge of Spies" is the first movie I've seen in a long time that makes me proud to be an American.

The character of Tom Hanks is a familiar one both to himself and Hollywood: the morally stiff good man in a world where it is hard for anyone to care about doing the right thing all the way and all the time. This, however, works to the thematic advantage of the film as opposed to a cheap empathetic technique to get the audience to side with the protagonist. The film is about the presence of humanity in all men and how adhering to that basic principal is what keeps us alive and going in a world where nations are so ready to drop the bomb. Numerous scenes in the film emphasize the absurdity of how real the threat of nuclear war was in the late 1950's as well as how terrifyingly brutal the totalitarian regimes behind the iron curtain were. Spielberg, as in most of his films from the last decade, seems to be on a kind of auto pilot. Nothing here is new or groundbreaking cinematically yet nothing is lost from being cliche or overused. A refreshingly old hollywood score, brilliant dialogue from the Coen Brothers themselves, near perfect historical realism, and a slow burn pacing that contributes to the complicated nature of the ethics at hand create one of the best Spielberg films of the last 20 years. Not to mention Spielberg utilizes violence, however brief, more effortlessly than he has ever done before. "Bridge of Spies" stands alongside "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," a genuine masterpiece of filmmaking, as the egalitarian "common man" counterpart to our nations long and tiring feud with communism.

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