Steven Spielberg took a step away from blockbuster action hits to throw his hat back into the Oscar conversation with “Bridge of Spies.” Written by the Coen Brothers and starring Tom Hanks, this highly talented production is a look at the 1960 U-2 incident during the cold war. While this isn’t the first time a Spielberg film has been in the Oscar conversation, however it is by far the most Oscar-bait film they’ve ever made.
Tom Hanks stars as James Donovan, an insurance lawyer who leads a normal life, until he’s asked by the government to defend a suspected Soviet spy, played by a wonderful Mark Rylance. As the trial begins, a secret mission to spy on the USSR goes wrong and gets an agent captured. The U.S. then sends Donovan to Berlin to trade the U.S. spy for the Soviet spy.
The movie is basically the epitome of an Oscar-bait movie. Written by the Coen’s and starring Tom Hanks in a biopic/period movie, is one of the most secure Oscar conversation starters around. (it got a best picture nom to back up my claim) While the movie is not a horrible movie, it’s not the best picture of the year.
The plot is overwhelmingly simple, with it not having any depth at all to the characters and having little real world connection or feeling. While the focus is nice, it never really has the complexity that the situation would have with it. Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance deliver good performances that definitely help the movie go along, but the script never really has the moments to truly shine.
The film is overall a solid, good production, and although the Oscar voters took the bait, will probably not stand the test of time, and probably won’t take home many Oscars.