Movie Review: Bridge of Spies

The Scene


Tom Hanks is at his most Toms Hanks-ish in the new Cold War drama “Bridge of Spies.”

As James Donovan, an American insurance lawyer given the unenviable task of defending a Russian spy at the height of the Cold War, Hanks doesn’t adopt an accent or wear a disguise. He portrays Donovan with the deadpan humor and quiet nobility he’s synonymous with, and it could be argued that he’s basically just playing the “Tom Hanks role” in his latest collaboration with Steven Spielberg.

That’s not a criticism. There are few actors whose mere presence can serve as a shorthand for goodness and integrity. And who better to anchor a movie about decency than the actor who’s been called America’s Dad?

Like he did with “Lincoln,” Spielberg uses American history to dwell on national values and humanity. Working from a script by Joel and Ethan Coen, he uses a true story about spies, government duplicity…

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Bridge of Spies

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Lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) is talking to FBI Agent Hoffman (Scott Shepherd).

FBI Agent Hoffman: We need to know what the Russian was telling you. Don’t go all boy scout on me. We don’t have a rule book here…
James Donovan: I’m Irish, and you’re German. But what makes us both Americans? Just one thing… one, only one. The rule book . We call it The Constitution, and we agree to the rules. And that’s what makes us Americans. It’s all that makes us Americans, so don’t tell me there’s no rule book…and don’t nod at me like that, you sonuvabitch…

Yeah, Tom Hanks is back!

Once a upon a time, the American film going public were represented by actor Jimmy Stewart, truly an actor for the ages, as our Everyman. He not only portrayed us on-screen, he was us – through and through. At the same…

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