During the Cold War an American Lawyer James Donovan finds himself as a key person in negotiations after he is chosen to defend an arrested Soviet Spy in New York.
I found the opening sequence to be highly impressive, a bit of a chance and wondering what exactly was going on. I think that was probably the key for this film it has to get the audience at the very start. I imagine if you did not like the opening moments then I can imagine it would feel like a very long journey. It was a film that could have easily been boring and dragged but I felt the absolute opposite. I was engaged and gripped by it all, wondering what was going to happen next and the outcome of it all.
Rudolf Abel was being followed and watched by many members of the CIA, followed everywhere and monitored. They arrested him and he was charged with being a Soviet spy trying to steal all of the American’s secrets to help with the war going on. We are really wondering if he actually is a spy, we saw him painting and looking like an old man just getting on with things. Also the fact he had a British passport and was from somewhere up north? Some very interesting information and we can therefore relate to Donovan the lawyer set to defend him in having doubt about it all.
We had enough moments to keep us on edge and small things that made you smile as well. It didn’t keep the serious tone constantly, we were given some lines to break the tension and put everyone you at ease. Which you would hope people would resort to in such awful circumstances to keep everyone going. I loved a couple of the moments and exchanges between Donovan and the spies, especially about his coat. I thought it made for engaging viewing as we were not massively sure what was going to happen with this mission as we must remember Donovan is not a spy and has not been properly trained for his mission.
The most powerful moment and scene had to be when Donovan truly realised the extent of the war in Germany with the wall being built and in certain places you would be instantly shot trying to climb over it. His reaction was unreal for me and that really helped him make some tough decisions and truly fight for what he believed in. Even more so when that is then brought up again in a very different situation and he remembers it, back in New York on the Subway. Honestly sometimes those tiny moments really mean something big.
Tom Hanks really does have such incredible charisma on-screen and really owns it no matter on his character. I feel he was the perfect choice of a lawyer taken out of his normal world and thrust into a war stricken Germany to help. Surely he could manage to talk anyone round? I think this film helps to show how true that it is. It’s great to see him still getting the chance to have roles like this. You know that he is never going to let you down and teaming up with Spielberg really is a winning combination. Mark Rylance as Rudolf Abel also puts in a brilliant performance as the potential spy, honestly his delivery was spot on and I thought he stood out very well in his scenes. “Would it help?” – that did get funnier with each time it was used.
I ended up enjoying and liking this film a lot more than I expected too. I seem to be right into dialogue heavy films at the moment, so if that isn’t your thing then you should probably stay clear of rushing to watch this one. If you like something engaging which is based on a historical event, then make sure you manage to watch this one. I am sure we will be seeing it branded about in Awards season in the New Year!