peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2015 10 16 BridgeOfSpies

Bridge of Spies

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4pm session at the AMC River East 21, $11.29 + $1.35 tax = $12.64. I used the auto box office this time. Packed. This is more greatest-generation auto-boosterism, an Atticus Finch from the cold war, right down to the there's-no-place-like-home, even when home is Kansas. (Perhaps I've previously missed the irony in that.) Spielberg directs, and Tom Hanks plays pure American hokum as only he can. Somewhat surprisingly this is a Coen brothers script. Mark Rylance is solid as the Russkie spy. Sebastian Koch jumps from West German playboy playwright (The Lives of Others) to East German lawyer. Much is made of the asymmetric treatment of prisoners: the US being kindly and hand wringing, while the Germans and Russkies go in for deprivation and implied torture. (It is also observed that wintering in an East Berlin gaol in 1960 was not so much worse than in a West Berlin hovel.) Secretary of State (Dull, Duller) Dulles is mildly rehabilitated. Cheap thrills abound during the interminable talking. All in all, just another milking of the days of moral clarity.

Manohla Dargis suckered me by making it a critic's-pick. I didn't see Lincoln and probably should have in preference to this as Day Lewis is the superior actor. There is far less moral ambiguity on show than she thinks there is. Dana Stevens is happy to apologize for Spielberg's excesses.