Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
A dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of a series of historic events, “Bridge of Spies” tells the story of James Donovan (Tom Hanks), a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on a near impossible mission to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. High stakes and suspense power a story inspired by true events that capture the essence of a man who risked everything and vividly brings his personal journey to life.
Inspired by actual events, ‘Bridge Of Spies’ takes place during the height of the Cold War. When an alleged Soviet spy is discovered and subsequently arrested in America, in order to appease the world and show the fair treatment America is capable of, they assign knowledgeable lawyer James B. Donovan (Hanks) to the case. Upon accepting the position as defense for the alleged spy, Donovan finds that regardless of their insistence in the appearance of a fair trial for the man, the higher ups including the judge proceeding over the case all refuse to allow what they believe to be such an illogical concept. Refusing to merely relent and allow this to occur, Donovan continues to push and as a result of his interaction he soon finds himself presented with the opportunity to help in a much larger scope, albeit a far more dangerous one as well.
Directed by the ever-impressive Steven Spielberg from a script by Matt Charman and the Coen Brothers; Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Spielberg does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘Bridge Of Spies’ capturing the era brilliantly in addition to creating a very different sort of spy (or war) film than we are typically familiar with. The film also benefits tremendously from the talented individuals who comprise the cast including Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, Alan Alda, Joshua Harto and a number more, the majority of whom all deliver capable if not impressive performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Bridge Of Spies’ is another exceptional offering from talented filmmaker Steven Spielberg. Serving as a very different type of film than we generally tend to associate with war or spy related films, not only is it calm, composed and surprisingly warmhearted in tone, it maintains an era of hope throughout as opposed to despair which we more commonly associate with such painful and trying times in our history. It captures the era and its surrounding appearance with breathtaking wonder, quite often making it the true star of the film, even with Hanks’ exceptional performance in the lead role. Simultaneously fascinating, engrossing and thrilling, ‘Bridge Of Spies’ is up there with the best films of 2015 and one that I would highly recommend not missing out on.
Overall, ‘Bridge Of Spies’ is an exceptional spy thriller that looks fantastic, beautifully capturing the era in which it occurred. It also utilizes a tone and presence very unlike the typical war and/or spy films we are typically accustomed to which proves a refreshing change of form. Superbly guided by the talented Spielberg and complimented by the numerous notable performances within, I would highly recommend checking out ‘Bridge Of Spies’, it’s definitely well worth the cost of a rental at the absolute least.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Bridge Of Spies’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks exceptional, delivering a beautiful, sharp and detailed video presentation throughout that wonderfully represents the gorgeous scenery and era-inspired details always on prominent display, holding up impressively even during the darkly lit and/or fast moving sequences and never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is an impressive high definition video presentation that should easily satisfy the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds great, often maintaining a calm demeanor, yet with no confliction switching to aggressive at any given moment. It utilizes all seven available channels on numerous occasions with train and other transportation noises, along with rain, gunshots, crowd chatter and more making its way throughout the channels, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a solid 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Bridge Of Spies’ includes a few notable extras. Included on the release are a few behind the scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of the film as well as the facts that inspired it, featuring interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘A Case of the Cold War: Bridge Of Spies’ (running approximately 18 minutes in length), ‘Berlin 1961: Re-creating the Divide’ (approximately 12 minutes), ‘U-2 Spy Plane’ (9 minutes), and ‘Spy Swap: looking Back on the Final Act’ (6 minutes). Credits (1 minute) for the supplemental material are also included.