Bridge Of Spies (12A)

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Picturehouse, Liverpool
From 27th November 2015

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is a Cold War thriller set in the 1950s but, as with a lot of Hollywood films, it is not political enough. Some might describe it as comic book history.

On the plus side the period detail is highly impressive, notably when you see part of the Berlin Wall being built, with people having to decide whether to stay in East Germany or to cross over to the west of the country.

Another outstanding aspect is the sterling performance of Mark Rylance, who plays the part of Rudolf Abel, a captured Russian Soviet agent., incarcerated in an American prison.

He is better known for his work on the British stage than for his onscreen roles. The stillness he imbues in the character is exemplary.

James Donovan (Tom Hanks) is his defence lawyer. In the second part of the film Donovan spends time in Berlin attempting to negotiate an exchange with the Soviets - Abel for downed U2 surveillance pilot Gary Powers, who was brought down over Russia.

The scenes in Berlin are very barren. You can almost feel the chill of the freezing snowy weather of the city. Very dark in image and psychology.

It is it galling though to see director Steven Speilberg's image of American as being dappled with sunlight while Berlin is very grey and inhumane.

Despite its good points it is nevertheless another Stars and Stripes flag-waver movie from hollow wood (sorry about the pun!).

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