Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg working together again can only result in a great film right? The thought of this collaboration sure got me excited earlier in the year when I first heard about it. However, since then and as the release date for Bridge of Spies approached I completely lost interest in it and began to doubt that the film would be good. From the few clips I had seen I began to think the film could have a lot of potential to be boring. Hanks & Spielberg, boring!? Surely not!?
I’m afraid my doubts were accurate as I really didn’t enjoy this film at all. The first half of the movie is decent and the premise made for an interesting enough story. However, it’s a shame that this is never fully explored. There was much potential for drama in this first section but because certain elements are completely skimmed over this potential is never met. Things only get worse when the events of the story move to Berlin though. From this point until the finale of the movie the plot becomes dull, uninteresting and as a result I was extremely bored and found myself fighting to stay awake. The film basically becomes a collection of conversations or negotiations where the same material is repeated again and again. Adding to this already lifeless set up was the length of these scenes, each being far too long for the viewer to keep their attention on screen. When the relief of a scene ending was granted it was swiftly taken away as another mammoth conversation awaited the audience.
When the film manages to talk its way to the finale things do slightly improve but only because anything would have been more interesting that what the viewer has just had to experience. So whilst the finale probably thinks its full of drama and tension in reality it just feels drawn out. The biggest problem with the finale is the fact that I really didn’t care about any of the characters involved. Not enough time had been devoted to their characters to make this finale effective in anyway. The failure to meet the potential of the first half of the film really does the finale in here and more time focused on certain characters could have solved a lot of problems. Of course the only saving grace of the film is Tom Hanks who is wonderful as always but not even he can lift this Cold War disaster out of its monotonous pit. What’s so annoying is that the individual Hanks portrays, lawyer James B. Donavan seems to have been an extraordinary man but Bridge of Spies does little to showcase this. The information about him and other characters that appears on screen at the end was immediately more interesting than anything the film had shown.
For me this is Spielberg’s lowest point in his career, I’m not quite sure how the director of Jaws, Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan – films so full of tension, adventure and emotion could be responsible for such a film devoid of all those things. Bridge of Spies will bore most of the general movie going public I think, Cold War enthusiasts may enjoy it but other than those I have a feeling fans of Spielberg and Hanks are going to be sorely disappointed.
Rating – 4/10