Starring: Mark Rylance, Tom Hanks, Austin Stowell, Will Rogers, Amy Ryan
When you see Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg mentioned together on a movie poster, you know you are going to spend the next few hours well. The movie is based on a true-life incident that took place just after World War II when the Allies were dividing Germany between themselves and hostility with USSR was growing. Rudolf Abel (Rylance) was intercepted by the FBI as a Soviet spy and was sent to jail for his deeds. The US government decided to put Abel on trial and James B. Donavan (Hanks), a famous insurance lawyer, was oddly asked by his firm to take up Abel’s case. James did not manage to get Abel to walk free but did manage to avoid him from going to the gallows since he argued that he may become a bargaining chip in case if an American spy were to be captured by the Soviets. Fredric Prior (Rogers), an American student studying in Berlin, illegally crossed to East Germany to rescue his girlfriend and was caught in the process of doing so. Francis Gary Powers (Stowell), an American Air Force pilot, was shot from the sky whilst trying to photograph Soviet territory and is subsequently captured. James’ gamble had paid off and the US government wanted Powers in exchange of Abel and Prior too if possible and wants James to be the negotiator. The movie is a very intense recount of a tale that is extremely interesting and fun to watch. Yes, you may have to brush up a little bit on your history to actually understand the underlying foundation but it is not too hard to do. The movie doesn’t really live up to Steven Spielberg’s standards and feels like you’re watching a much weaker version of Munich. It lacks a sense of intensity and high-drama and instead opens up in a very low-key and predictable manner. Tom Hanks is probably the only person in Hollywood who could pull of that role and has done a very good job at it. This movie is a great movie to watch though, don’t get me wrong on that, but it doesn’t feel like a Spielberg.
Thumbs up: Tom Hanks
Thumbs down: The climax