When I write my capsule reviews, it's mostly to let you know if a movie is worth dropping down at least the fifty bucks or so that it'll cost you after all is said and done. And I find that in Spielberg's latest cold war drama, you are wise to kick in your hard earned cash and enjoy the type of movie that Spielberg excels in. The film is based on real characters and true events from the late 50's and early 60's and you could say it's part Lincoln, part Saving Private Ryan, part Atticus Finch and a whole lot of fun.
Bridge of Spies is basically two movies in one, and both sections are aided greatly by the script doctoring of the Coen brothers. They interject a wry sense of humor throughout that helps keep the pace and tension mounting in the second half of the movie. The first part is basically a courtroom drama with Tom Hanks, an insurance attorney being roped into defending a Russian spy played expertly by the great British stage actor, Mark Rylance.
The second half of the film is where the real cold fun begins. After a CIA spy plane is shot down and our pilot is captured, the US government once again ropes in Hanks (because he's so good at these things) and sends him off to a freezing East Germany as the Berlin wall is being built, to negotiate a prisoner swap with Russia. Events get more complex because of the added presence of the East Germans and even at a running time of one hundred and forty one minutes, the film never wears out its welcome - although you might need a new overcoat.