Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Movie Review ~ Bridge of Spies

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Bridge of SpiesBridge of Spies, rated PG-13

This film, based on true events, is directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Tom Hanks. Enough said! It‘s one of the best films of the year.

The film begins in 1957 in Brooklyn during the Cold War. Rudolf Abel, a KGB intelligence officer superbly played by Mark Rylance, is arrested for espionage in the United States. To give the impression that he will get a fair hearing, Abel will need a competent lawyer. Thomas Watters Jr. (Alan Alda) approaches his employee James Donovan, played by Tom Hanks in one of the best performances in his career, about defending Abel. Donovan is an insurance attorney, who is good at his job. He was also involved in the Nuremberg trials years prior. Donovan’s wife Mary, played by Oscar nominee Amy Ryan, is very much against it because of the impact on their family, but Donovan agrees to it, saying that everyone is entitled to a good defense.

But Donovan’s boss and even the judge aren’t interested in a fair trial. They know he’s guilty and really don’t want Donovan to truly defend him. Just move things along quickly and, we assume, send Abel to the electric chair. But Donovan takes his job seriously and mounts a defense of Abel, showing genuine concern for his client. Several times throughout the film, when things aren’t looking so good for Abel, Donovan asks him “Are you worried?” Abel not showing any obvious signs of worry, asks him “Would it help?”

In addition to wanting to give his client a fair trial, Donovan also prophetically looks ahead to see that Abel could be valuable in the event the Soviet Union captured one of our men. As such, he argues for imprisonment, rather than the death penalty.

This is a well-directed, acted and written film, with strong performances in particular from Hanks and Rylance. I would not be surprised if they, along with Spielberg and script writers Matt Charman, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, all receive Oscar nominations for their work here.

As far as content concerns, the film includes a few completely unnecessary words, and a few instances of God’s name being misused. We also see some Cold War related violence.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 40 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and 2 Corinthians 5:21 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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