Spielberg Works His Magic in Bridge of Spies
British actor Mark Rylance gives a standout performance as Rudolf Abel
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2015 10:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – Tom Hanks took some time off from being awesome to star as an American attorney who must negotiate a prisoner swap in Soviet Russia in Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies. Critics and audiences are equally in love, giving the flick a 92% and 90% approval rating, respectively, on Rotten Tomatoes. Some highlights:

  • "Spielberg can't help but make the kind of inspiring, classically constructed drama that we keep being told Hollywood doesn't produce anymore. Thank goodness he still does," writes Ann Hornaday writes at the Washington Post. British actor Mark Rylance gives "what, with luck, will be a career-making performance" as accused Soviet spy Rudolf Abel, she adds. He's "an example of screen acting at its most subtle, poignant and exquisitely calibrated."
  • "Bridge of Spies isn't conventionally exciting, and isn't intended to be. Instead, it's satisfying—thoroughly and pleasurably so," writes Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal. It’s "a fascinating piece of fiction based on fact, a Cold War parable of moral principles colliding with the imperatives of national security," he adds. Hanks portrays James Donovan "with stirring conviction leavened by enjoyable zest," Morgenstern writes, while "Rylance's performance is a minimalist wonder."

  • Essentially, the movie "is a moral drama driven by an insurance lawyer. That it works at all is a miracle—or would be, if anyone other than St. Steven were involved," writes Ty Burr at the Boston Globe. "Compact and to the point it's not," but it is "plush, professional, tonally wobbly, and very watchable," he says. He agrees Rylance can "make the doing of nothing seem perfectly, completely riveting," but adds Hanks is "fine company."
  • Lindsey Bahr describes the film as "a slow burn." The filmmakers "toss details at you, shake them all around and piece them back together in the third act ... Only then can you begin to fully appreciate just how lean and purposeful every moment is," she writes at AP. "Spielberg continues to defy our skeptical movie expectations," she adds. This film "echoes in your mind long after the credits roll and begs for a second viewing."

 

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