I always argue with myself about movies that are made with a connection to the World Wars, however remote a connection it may be. These automatically have enough ammunition to be both painful and powerful in equal measures. So, it is no wonder the movies leave a mark and are easy choice for Academy awards.
Bridge of spies is no different. It does not show the world war, but is based on real events during the Cold War that followed, between America and Russia.
Knowing all I do of the unfair emotional advantage that these films have, I am still moved and inspired by this simple heartening story based on real events and real people. A colorless grave drab canvas that elevates and brightens the viewers world if you let it.
In New York, a Russian undercover spy, Rudolf Abel, is caught and prosecuted. Enter James Donovan; played flawlessly by Tom Hanks. He is the lawyer assigned to represent the charged man.
America believes a spy has no rights, but Donovan believes an honourable man deserves respect. With minimum fuss, Donovan chooses to be true to his profession and his conscience by advocating that Rudolf be treated with dignity. Donovan argues that Rudolf might be a Russian spy, but he has not done any personal wrong, only performed his duty faithfully towards his motherland.
What follows, reminds me of Atticus Finch’s trial, where he fights for what he believes is right, even though it puts him against society (from To Kill A Mocking Bird which deserves a post all to itself. One of my all time favourites).
Rudolf comes across as an unshakable, patient and loyal man. And Donovan is a principled, honourable and intelligent man who doesn’t need to raise his voice to show conviction and sway nations .
The plot thicken when not too far away, an American pilot is taken prisoner, and Donovan is entrusted to bring back the pilot who let himself be captured by the enemy instead of taking his country’s military secrets to the grave. Donovan works with the same ingenuity and firm diginity.
With a dash of irony, a tad of humour, a whole lot of morality, a bit of worldliness and enough sensitivity, the movie segues between courtrooms to prison cells to war zones. All the while refraining from preaching, but managing to be profoundly inspiring.
P.S – Semi spoiler, but I have to talk about the name. Bridge Of Spies is aptly titled. Not simply because the physical location is important, but because it is the tie binding nations together.
Tell me what you think of Bridge Of Spies or war movies in general.