Just when you think Hollywood can think of nothing better to do than afflict us with sequels, ever-louder explosions, gratuitous sex and violence, the industry catches us off-guard with something intelligent. Even more ironic when this feature film, “Bridge of Spies,” followed a preview of the latest James Bond eye candy. Caught this new Tom Hanks movie last week. Surprised to see Ethan and Joel Cohen credited as writers, along with Matt Charman. Their contribution makes sense now when I recall the film’s dialog. This is a movie written for adults who like to think. Spoiler alert! There are no transformers, no mutant monsters—unless you count the East Germans and the Russians—and only one explosion, a realistic, frightening downing of the U-2 spy plane piloted by Gary Powers. The screenwriters, bless ’em, kept the script spare and grim, as was the subject matter and the era. Rare touches of humor lighten this Cold War classic but they’re few and appropriate. Director Steven Spielberg picked the ever-able Hanks to play a buttoned-down lawyer tasked with making a prisoner swap in divided Berlin. As straightforward as the dialog was, it was certainly never dull. Have to give a nod to the set designers as well. They recreated the numbing grayness of communist East Berlin. Lot of white hair attending the afternoon showing, all belonging to those who lived through that era. I’m sure they appreciated the good writing.
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