Bridge of Spies: A Visit Back to the Cold War

By Fareha Huda

The movie opens with a shot of a man looking into a mirror, painting a nearly complete self-portrait. There is no music, no sound, no distractions from the frowning artist. He is shot from behind, and so begins “Bridge of Spies.”

To have the ability to make a shyster and an enemy spy into national heroes is no small achievement, but that’s exactly what happens in Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies.” Starring Tom Hanks, Alan Alda, and Mark Rylance, this movie is rated 4.2 out of 5 on Rotten Tomatoes, a popular movie reviewing website.

James Donovan (Hanks) is a non-threatening New York attorney, but is also ready for a fight. Called into office by his boss (Alda), Donovan is informed that he must take the case of defending Rudolf Abel (Rylance), an accused Russian spy. He realizes that this case will make him unpopular, but decides he has to take on the case.

Set in 1957, Donovan’s act is seen as a betrayal to the American people. His whole family even starts to question his loyalties. Protagonist James Donovan slowly realizes that the Russian spy might not be so bad after all, even arguing that Abel could be useful for Americans, and that he should be respected.

“Bridge of Spies” pays such close attention to detail; each set and each costume looks like something straight out of the 1950s. Spielberg and the rest of his team made the film focused and deliberate. The film builds tension through exchanged words, conversations, and thoughts as Donovan begins to realize that the world of espionage is a complicated one. Every decision seems to be carefully considered, as one mistake could lead to a fatal disaster.

Spielberg did a great job on making the film as realistic as possible. He took a difficult event from history and turned it into something almost inspiring. From the first scene with Abel to the last with Donovan, this film was brilliant.

“Bridge of Spies” is rated PG-13, but it would still be a movie for the family to watch together. Its historical feel is something that will teach its audience that even amidst the tension of the Cold War, there are people willing to ignore it all for the sake of justice.

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