Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies ★★★★

It is too easy to forget how good Spielberg is. This is a corny patriotic historical movie that involves Tom Hanks winning over a Russian spy by the sheer power of decency, and I am a cynical man, but it works. Partial credit to Mark Rylance, who brought the full power of his eyebrows to this, but Spielberg is just so sincere! Hey, let's cut from a courtroom rising for the judge to a bunch of adorable kids saying the Pledge of Allegiance to a filmstrip about the dangers of nuclear war! But let's do it perfectly.

There is, overall, just enough Coen Brothers edge in the script to keep me from succumbing to saccharine overdose. Spielberg knows drama, and the key in Berlin is that Hanks is getting pressured to betray his principles from both sides.

Also in case you'd forgotten Spielberg's skills as an action director, which to be honest I had, let's throw in a sequence where the SR-71 gets shot down and let's make it insanely tense. I do wish Jesse Plemons had played Gary Powers, because he always adds this underlying self-awareness to the goofy-looking slice of Americana roles, but he was fine as the friend too.

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