Bridge of Spies tells the story of James Donovan, an insurance lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of Cold War negotiations. Perhaps this premise sounds far-fetched, but the movie is actually based on true events. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies is a historical drama that tells the not-so-well-known story of a lawyer who is called upon to become the defense attorney for a Russian spy.
The role of James Donovan is played masterfully by Tom Hanks. Donovan reluctantly takes on the task of defending a Russian spy during the height of the Cold War. Even though he is threatened and his home is shot at, Donovan never gives up. The man has unshakeable ethics and he is determined to complete the task at hand to be best of his abilities despite the personal and professional opposition that he receives.
A series of war-related global events takes Donovan out of the courtroom and send him to Berlin to negotiate the release of two Americans in exchange for sending his client home to Russia. Donovan’s own safety is at stake and the audience quickly sees that he’s dealing with large egos and unscrupulous characters.
Both the tone and the setting conspire to make the audience shiver. It’s the Cold War, afterall. The attitudes are chilly and the setting is frigid. Donovan has to deal with both, with little support from the United States and, at times, literally without the cover of a coat.
Bridge of Spies excels because it is not only entertaining, but it makes the audience think about what it takes to really have unshakeable morals.