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Bridge of Spies

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Bridge of Spies

In the shadow of war, one man showed the world what we stood for.

20152 h 21 min
Overview

An American lawyer is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union.

Metadata
Director Steven Spielberg
Runtime 2 h 21 min
Release Date 16 October 2015
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Good
Images

markrylance

Mark Rylance, graphite on Bristol board by PJ


 
Since I began going to see films at the new Cineworld (with an unlimited ticket) I’ve broadened the genres that I might usually choose.  A spy drama, especially with a Cold War plot, would not normally be my first choice but I was prepared to go with an open mind especially as the main protagonists were played by Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance.  I surprised myself by enjoying it.  Hanks rarely disappoints and this was role was no exception.  He plays Jonathan B. Dawson, the insurance lawyer recruited to defend a Russian spy, Rudolf Abel, in court and then broker a high level swap of Abel for a captured US pilot negotiating between the US, Russia and East German.  An upstanding, all American lawyer (think Atticus Finch but played by Jimmy Stewart) he doesn’t shirk when asked to do his patriotic duty and travels to an intimidating and dangerous East Berlin to get the job done.  The city itself with all its menace and new order chaos was a cold, dark character in the story and Dawson having his coat stolen and getting a cold, only served to emphasise this.  I was concerned for him and wanted him back home safe and WARM.

It was Mark Rylance, playing Abel, who stole the show for me, however.  A wonderfully dour and laconic performance as the Russian spy whose response to questions on whether he is frightened or worried is  ‘Will it help?”.  Although he is an anti-American baddie I was rooting for him to be safe and warm too.   I would have liked to have discovered more about this man’s background.  I did some research after the movie to discover that he was born in Newcastle on Tyne to Russian emigre parents but how and why did he become a spy?

For me, the culture difference between the US and UK is never so obvious as when watching films and in US movies the ‘heartwarming’ scenes often stick in my cynical British throat.  This included a scene near the end of the film when Hanks’ character gazes out of a train window and smiles at the glory that is suburban America of the early 60s, drawing us to compare the evil and horrific East Berlin to this cosy, apple pie vision.   Far from being comforted I was thinking..well yes, very nice, but aren’t there race riots going on around the corner.  Cosy for you maybe, you white, middle-class lawyer.

I may be being followed Jesse Plemons.  On TV I’ve been watching the wonderful Fargo in which he plays the butcher or more accurately ‘The Butcher of Laverne’.  He also popped up as a henchman in Black Mass and again in Bridge of Spies, as a pilot.  I’ve just checked the cast of Sisters..he’s not in it..phew!

 

Black Mass

Published by:

Poster for the movie "Black Mass"

Black Mass

Keep your enemies close.

20152 h 02 min
Overview

The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.

Metadata
Director Scott Cooper
Runtime 2 h 02 min
Release Date 4 September 2015
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Good
Images
digital by PJ

digital by PJ

 

Jonny Depp does good psychopath.  A scary movie particularly as it’s based on a true story.  ‘Whitey’ Bulger was a notorious crime boss back in the 70s in Boston, USA and this film pulled no punches in portraying the violence and gore that ensued.  Depp was deeply disturbing as the dead-eyed Bulger, unmoved by the fear and death he left in his wake and carrying with him an almost palpable aura of menace.  Benedict Cumberbatch played Bulger’s brother, the upstanding senator and although I’m no expert on a south Boston accent Cumberbatch’s version of it did seem to wander around somewhat and has divided opinion on Twitter.  The few women that were in the movie were Bulger’s victims  in one way or another, the mother of his child, the threatened and intimidated wife of the FBI agent and the teenage girl he had murdered.  The only non-victim woman’s role was his mother.  Is the ‘hard man being especially close to his mother’ stereotype  actually true or just a cinematic  device to show us that even the the most evil psychopaths have some humanity somewhere? Good movie.  Enjoyed is not the right word, but I left feeling chilled by Depp’s portrayal.