Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Bridge Of Spies

A work in progress

I painted the base coat of the Prof's Valentine cat food tin/ desk tidy and went to the cinema as it was drying on the sideboard.
I went to see a one off showing of Spielberg's Bridge Of Spies
I knew the movie would be worthy, after all everyone involved has a pedigree as long as your arm , but I wasn't prepared just how good a story it is and I was very grateful that I had no knowledge whatsoever of the "true"story that the film was based upon.
At the height of the cold war New York lawyer James Donovan ( Tom Hanks) reluctantly accepts to defend Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance) who has been arrested on charges of being a KGB spy. Although the trial leads to Abel being imprisoned for life , the sudden capture of an American espionage pilot by Russian forces and the imprisonment of an American student in East Berlin, means that Donovan's negotiating skills are brought into play to forge an exchange in a wintry and divided Germany.

Rylance ( centre) and Hanks

Hummm, it sounds good, and believe me it is good with the ageing Hanks playing the cold war Jimmy Stewart role that Stewart should always have been offered. He is , quite simply marvellous as the measured , quick thinking and decent Donovan . Wisely, Spielberg pairs the warmth of Hanks with a wonderfully ambiguous and unreadable character of Abel. Their pairing has an electricity reminiscent of Hopkins and Foster in Silence of the Lambs.
Rylance's performace here is a masterclass of underplaying and with the faintest glimpse of a smile
and an almost reptilian glace he walks the very difficult line between slightly doddery invisable eccentric and a calculating and fiercely loyal Russian agent. When the pair are separated for film's second half East Berlin scenes , I bet the rest of the audience was rooting for their reunion, as much as I was.

Spielberg touches abound in this movie. A terribly upsetting machine gunning of five East German escapees in no man's land as seen by the passenges of a passing train, the savage beauty of a snow covered and decaying Berlin, the breathtaking shooting down of the American spy jet over Russia are just three set pieces that linger long in the mind.
The master is oh so back on form with Bridge Of Spies
9/10


37 comments:

  1. Sounds like it might be worth seeing, John!

    You are going to tuck some chocolates in that desk tidy - aren't you? Or Theater tickets?

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    Replies
    1. No just cheap pens

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    2. Oh leave him alone. I love your desk tidy. My mother made me one with four cans - two tall ones, a tuna sized one for paperclips etc and a short one - they all are stuck together. I use it all the time. Top tips - felt in the bottom and a strip just inside the rim stop the clanking noises of pens being put in. But before I saw her do that it never occurred to me either!

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  2. This is a brilliant film isn't it. We went like you not knowing much about it and sat riveted from start to finish. It is one of the best films I've seen with our Cineworld passes up to now.

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  3. Agree with you about Bridge of Spies - haven't seen all the Oscar Best film nominees yet, but this is the best so far for me, and I am not a Tom Hanks fan at all.

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  4. My husband and I just rented this earlier in the week and we loved it! It was so suspenseful and intriguing.

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  5. Craft day at the Cottage! I love anything Mark Rylance is in....Wolf Hall comes to recent memory.

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    1. He's almost unrecognisable in this

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  6. From your words here this movie is now a must see for my husband and me.

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    Replies
    1. Its an old fashioned drama well worth it

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  7. Sounds like a WIN . . .
    I like a good movie . . . that feels like I do when I read a book . . .
    Know what I mean . . . .

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  8. T'was good, wasn't it? Even better than I anticipated.

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  9. I love your film reviews John. We now have a huge cinema quite near to us but sadly I never go to it. The trouble is the farmer is asleep before the title has disappeared from the screen having been out in the fresh air all day.

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  10. Thanks for the movie tip.

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  11. Your review makes me want to see it as well.

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  12. I agree on every count, and couldn't have said it better myself. Perhaps a new career as a movie reviewer, John . . ?

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  13. I loved this movie but hated The Revenant was a no go for me. Recently watched Robert deniro in The Intern liked this one a lot.
    Looking forward to seeing the finished gift.
    Briony
    x

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  14. ATTENTION Followers of Going Gently,

    THIS IS AN APPEAL ON BEHALF OF, G.T.P.A.D.V.P (Get the Prof a Decent Valentines Present)

    Now, as you are aware JG (John Gray) has in his childhood, watched far too many episodes of Blue Peter (a group is currently being formed, to sue the BBC, for trauma caused by this programme) as a result he is intending to give the Prof, yes we are talking Professor status, not, Cycling Proficiency Status or having been on a Government Training Scheme , but a real life Prof (in other words he has an NVQ ) a friggin tin, yes, a friggin tin (in the name of god) in all honesty I think JG got it in Asda in the Land of the Great Unwashed (do not think they have Waitrose in Rhyl !!)
    So for those of you who, like me have great concerns over JG's TIN MAKING PRESENT ABILITIES, send a POSTAL ORDER TO The Prof and the T.A (tight arse!!) of Trewlawnyd (shit, have I spelt it right) In all honesty I can never look at a tin can again xxx

    Okay I have had a drink !!!

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    Replies
    1. In fairness he did remove the label and paint it red :-) I hope the Prof gives him a similar prezzie... In fact maybe we should send the poor Prof a 'proper' Valentines card

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    2. Cherie, it could have been a, SMART PRICE LABEL, I agree G.G.F's.F.A.T.W.U.F.T.P, GOING -GENTLY FANS-FROM-AROUND-THE-WORLD-UNITE-FOR-THE-PROF !!! GOD LOVE AND PROTECT HIM XX at least make it a WAITROSE/M&S TIN X

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  15. Thanks, John, for reminding me why I enjoyed Bridge of Spies so much. You capture perfectly the brilliance of Mark Rylance's performance. I've been lucky enough to see him on stage a couple of times and he is always spellbinding.

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  16. i can't wait to see this movie...and the profs present.

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  17. I have seen the movie and liked it, but I simply could not forget that Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks. But spy Abel was awesome when he answered: "Would it help?" when asked if he was worried. Loved it!

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  18. This has now become a 'must see'.

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  19. Loved Bridge of Spies. Mark Rylance was brilliant and Tom Hanks was himself but the film was none the worse for that or for Spielberg's touch. I am old enough to remember the original U2 incident although not all the implications.

    I remember Mark Rylance in 'Jerusalem' at the Royal Court theatre some years ago. 'Swindon level decision' has become a family byword for bureaucracy.

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  20. I hope you'll show us the finished product. I have a feeling it will surprise some people :)

    Another solid review - thank you.

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  21. Looking forward to seeing this one, though perhaps my hopes are too high; I'm hoping for a film as good as 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold', a B&W from around '67 with Richard Burton.

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  22. I was a girl when these events happened and remember well the downing of the plane. It was the time of the Cold War and things were very tense between Russia and the US. I knew the story but was still on the edge of my seat throughout most of the film. The movie was marvelous and shows that good stories done with excellent actors and great directors are so much more interesting than the blow 'um ups that rely mostly on the visual effects.

    Your review was excellent and spot on.

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  23. Incredible casting, directing and acting.

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  24. You've been watching Blue Peter again, haven't you. I hear that St Valentine's Day has become rather naff these days; it's been a long time coming.

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  25. We loved it too!

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  26. Wow, A NINE!?! (I'd award that score to only three films I've seen in my entire life. Please don't ask. Yet.)
    Glad you appreciated this as much as I did. I think that maybe it being a Spielberg film plays against it being recognised as exceptionally good. ("Oh, another one of his!") But it really is right up there with his very best.
    It features on both BAFTA and Oscar nomination lists for Best Film, and if it doesn't win it's bound to have been a close thing. I shan't be glum if it does carry off the prize.
    I can well recall the time when the Berlin Wall went up. Every time we saw it on the news my blood would freeze - and as for those people being shot trying to cross over, even now my heart sinks at the memory of them.
    But everyone who's seen 'Bridge of Spies' seems to have fulsome praise for it - justifiably.

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  27. Isn't Rylance just perfect? Did you watch him as Thomas More in Wolf Hall? He can act with a tiny movement of his eye. I am a serious fan.

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  28. I saw this on the airplane back from the states -- I liked it a lot too.

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