Bridge of Spies full movie review - 'Bridge of Spies': A Cold Fight
The montage of 'Bridge of Spies' is loaded with narratively significant match cuts. Those are reminiscent of the ironically great cut in 'Catch Me If You Can' where the shot of a girl saying "no, no .
.." in surprise is harshly cut into "yes, yes ..." being yelled by the same girl while having intercourse consequently. It's useful to compare them with the pretentious, nonfunctional, so- called innovative jump cuts of Goddard's. Hitchcock once explained that cutting "should be called assembly. ? Montage means the assembly of pieces of film which, moved in rapid succession before the eye, create an idea." Spielberg surely have thoroughly comprehended the notion.
As far as I've noticed, each sequence is in a narratively significant dialogue with the ones surrounding it. Such dialogue is also aesthetical. For instance, there is a seemingly tranquil sequence, where Donovan is meeting the spy in confinement, preceded by an aggressively disruptive sequence - following the sentence being declared in the courtroom - and proceeding to a the scene where Donovan's house is being shot. This reminds me of the contrast characteristic of montage once explained by Hitchcock.
The movie is also loaded with dark, fiendish ironies (again, reminiscent of 'Catch Me If You Can' to an extent) delicately embodied by Tom Hanks.
The picture is full of good deeds, being done by the typecast Hanks, and some kind of patriotism which is so recurrent in Spielberg's works. Such extent of these characteristics are not appealing to me. Nonetheless, they've done their works so appropriately and elaborately that I can't help enjoying them! I get filled with the tremendous, yet not corny, melodramatic atmosphere the director builds up. One remarkable reason why it doesn't feel corny is that he demonstrates even the (so-to-say) villain in a perceptive manner. It is notable, as a recurrent element - and therefore a privilege from the auteurism point of view - that his typical protagonist is neither a hero nor a villain but he's somewhere in the middle. It should be also wisely noticed that such middle state is not caused by the character's (or indeed filmmakers') inability to possess a clear status but by his absolutely firm and self-assured status which isn't predominantly accepted. Take for instance Hanks's role as a purely professional lawyer in this movie, his role as an arguably hardboiled cop ? albeit not the protagonist - in 'Catch Me If You Can', Lincoln firmly believing in one simple principle in 'Lincoln' and Schindler as a mere industrialist in 'Schindler's List'. From a more detailed point of view, what matters to his protagonists is not the right or wrong but is (their) principles. For instance, Donovan, in this picture, believes in his job - and its principles - to such extent that even the Soviet spy, being defended by him, cautions "Jim ... you should be careful. Careful!"
Another privilege of Spielberg's over these contemporary, pretentious directors is his precise perception and elaborate fulfillment of complication and complexity. This picture, as an excellent example, features tens of instances of complication, in situations and interactions, which are likely to capture an audience's mind to such extent that it would reinforce the narrative and convey the suspense and thrill to the audience much more effectively. Such mature director is completely in contrast to the directors aforementioned. Take the highly cherished director, Nolan, for example. He's used to complicating his works so much that not only he, but perhaps anyone, can do. However, what he ? and that anyone naturally ? is unable to do is finishing up the narrative with any given degree of complication it's loaded with. He just abandons the narrative in a nondescript point.
There are two narratives constituting the story which, interestingly enough, while interacting with each other, gradually build up the political condition of the day too. It just caught my undivided attention how a cold fight, magnificently representing the Cold War, was demonstrated throughout the last sequences of the film ? not to mention it's there throughout the movie with varying degrees. Throughout those final sequences, Donovan is involved in an outrageous fight where everyone is fully attempting to prove their power. It is literally a cold fight. It employs no muscle but is absolutely detrimental and nerve-wrecking.
The Cold War, naturally, had a cold side to it, signifying you couldn't know what's to come for sure. However, it was extraordinarily hot. Living in the day, while bombarded by propagandas suggesting a horrible war could begin at any time, one would be overwhelmed, distressed and, in all, superfluously confident. Such state of tremendously firm presumptions regarding war, enemy and stuff like that is fabulously suggested by the blinding lights throughout the movie. In most cases, light is dreadfully dark in this movie, making it arguably a groundbreaking neo-noir. Such lighting suggests the sense of assurance in the confinement and incarceration scenes too; this time implying Donovan and the spy being assured of their professional principles, which is what's common between them, as the glamorous gleam in their background is. His employment of technology, unlike most of Hollywood directors' exploitation of technology, actively induces my analytic enjoyment.
Finally, the amphiboly in the title of the picture caught my eyes. Bridge has two meanings here. Its second meaning, medium/facilitator, is Donovan himself who, at the peak of the movie, ends up at a bridge (the first meaning) bridging the spies. And you see a final touch in the end of the sequence where everyone leaves the situation rapidly and all the lights are turned off but Donovan stays. And ultimately, the aerial long shot ? featuring only Donovan and the bridge ? implies the amphiboly in the title, 'Bridge of Spies'.
So far as I've watched Spielberg's works, along with 'Catch Me If You Can', this one of his have best appealed to me.
PS. Spielberg-Hanks, undoubtedly, is one the functionally greatest duo in filmmaking.