Spielberg’s latest effort (seems an undeserving word to describe a film by such a masterful director) is a terrific Cold War drama that rests on the reliable shoulders of frequent collaborator, Tom Hanks.
This espionage thriller details the true story of how lawyer James Donovan (Hanks) is recruited by the CIA to negotiate the swap of Mark Rylance’s spy, Rudolph Abel to bring home a captured American U-2 pilot. The film provides a refreshing take on a tired genre, delivering a slick, slow-burner that removes most stereotypes associated with spy films, offering a welcome change of pace from the typical quick-cut, non-stop action of the year’s other spy ventures.
The acting, as is to be expected, is stellar. Hanks delivers a strong performance as the noble lawyer, fighting to do what is right, whilst also conflicted between patriotism and humanitarianism. He is supported by Rylance putting in an incredible turn as Abel, bringing humanity and intelligence to the character through his soft, gentle manner. The relationship that blossoms between the two characters is fascinating to watch as they defy the boundaries placed between them by their warring countries, to build a form of an alliance.
The film has the feel of a classic cold war drama, yet contains that little spark that can only be provided by Spielberg. The film’s direction is, of course, fantastic, binding each of the film’s elements to create a solid, atmospheric drama (or thriller) as well as helping to elevate the script to a higher level.
Overall, Spielberg has crafted a taut, slow-burning (at times possibly a little too slow) thriller showcasing another fantastic performance from Hanks as well as introducing many to the incredible talent of Rylance.