Suspenseful and tingling; won't win Best Picture
A review by JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:
ODAY WE'RE going to talk about Bridge of Spies. It’s nominated for a Best Picture Oscar® tomorrow (2016-0228).
Staring Tom Hanks, and directed by Steven Spielberg, one would expect this work to exemplify the highest in cinematic artistry.
And it does.
Who doesn’t like a really good cold-war drama? Especially when the whole premise of said drama is based on actual events?
I thought this was a very good movie. I liked it from start-to-finish. Yet, I’m aware that popularity with the masses (Rotten Tomatoes™ gives it 91%, and most reviews have been quite favorable) doesn’t necessarily mean a particular work is Oscar® material. Just because I liked a movie, a lot, doesn’t mean my criteria is the same as the Academy’s.
In the case of Bridge of Spies, I suspect it isn’t going to win Best Picture, especially considering its competition. Of the movies nominated for BP this year,† I’ve seen three (The Martian, The Revenant, and this one); I predict that of those three, The Revenant is the best bet for Best Pic. But personally, I didn’t enjoy The Revenant that much. Too slow, too gory, slack character arcs, predictable plot line. Yet, I have a hunch that The Revenant has a bunch of the qualities that Academy-types love: Too slow, too gory, slack character arcs, predictable plot line. You get the idea.
Anyhoo, back to this review. Bridge of Spies is suspenseful and fun. (Fun? Okay: fun to watch.) Tom Hanks—how could you go wrong? Steven Spielberg: ditto. The story is based on true events, so there’s no need to worry about the ending; anyone with knowledge of the story knows what’ll happen. Even if you’ve never heard of the story, that’s not the point. The point of this is the telling. And it’s told very well.
The late ‘50s was a time of global anxiety. American school children underwent regular drills to make sure they knew to duck under their desks in case of nuclear bomb droppage.* Tension between the East and West was palpable. Bridge of Spies is the story of how the East and West played Spy vs. Spy: Check Point Charlie. Secret codes stored in a fake nickel hidden under a park bench. All that.
The tension in the original set of events was quite real. The tension in the re-telling is quite believable.
I recommend “BOS” to those who enjoy this genre of flicks. Best Picture? I doubt it, if only because The Revenant is bound to win.
†I'm considering starting a GoFundMe account to support my movie-review proclivities. Or maybe I'll just get advertisers?
*Yeah. As if.