Sunday, October 18, 2015

'Bridge of Spies:' Cold War, Warm Hearts

Tom Hanks stars as Brooklyn lawyer Jim Donovan, a Jimmy Stewart type in over his head in 'Bridge of Spies.'
Tom Hanks is terrific as the American constitutional man of honor in “Bridge of Spies,” standing up for the lives of an innocent young man and two spies, one American and one Russian, against the fear, paranoia and hair-trigger national ruthlessness of the nuclear 1950s. I deliberately postponed reading reviews until afterward, but I did catch Dann Gire’s apt reference to Capra. That’s it, it’s heart-tugging Cold War Capra. It’s that utterly absorbing kind of film I call a day-breaker. 
I didn’t realize Spielberg had directed it until I noticed that it had three endings. Bring a discreet hanky.
I’ve been on that bridge — the Glienicker Brücke across the Havel River connecting the Wannsee district of Berlin with the Brandenburg capital Potsdam — but it didn’t look so romantic when I was there the year after the wall fell.
As our bus passed over it, our German guide mentioned casually that this had been “that bridge where they traded the spies,” and all the thrilled American journalists shouted, “Stop the bus! Stop the bus!”

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