BRIDGE OF SPIES (2015) Blu-ray Review, a movie directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen and Matt Charman, starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda, Amy Ryan, Michael Pemberton and Domenick Lombardozzi.
Release Date: October 16, 2015.
“During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.”
Run Time: 141 min
Format: Blu-Ray, AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Language: English (DTS-HD High Res Audio), English (2.0 Descriptive Audio), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
The video on this set is crisp and lush. As Spielberg used 35-millimeter film stock, the film has a beautiful, bountiful depth of color and grain. The cinematographer, Janusz Kaminsky, gives the look a simultaneously traditional, classic, fuzzy aesthetic, while being the crispest, clearest version of itself. It’s a visually very dark and earth-toned film, but the video is clean and clear.
When Spielberg was unable to secure his longtime collaborator, John Williams, for this feature, he went to the next best thing: Thomas Newman. The thinking is obvious: Newman is a master composer that makes the kind of melancholy, weighty compositions that Spielberg looks for to support the gravitas of his films dealing with morality, honor, justice, etc. However, there is no memorable theme or stand-out track, which might be a measure of quality for some.
Blu-ray Bonus Content
* A Case Of The Cold War: Bridge of Spies – Delve Deeper Into The Film’s Characters And The Real-Life People On Whom They’re Based, And Discover Why The History Behind BRIDGE OF SPIES Still Resonates Today
* U-2 Spy Plane – Witness The Making Of The Spectacular U-2 Plane Crash Sequence, With Archival Voice-Over By U-2 Pilot Francis Gary Powers And A Cameo By His Son, Francis Gary Powers, Jr.
* Berlin 1961: Re-creating The Divide – Experience The Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie And Frederic Pryor’s Arrest Through A Mix Of Archival Imagery, Behind-The-Scenes Moments And Firsthand Accounts
*Spy Swap: Looking Back On The Final Act – Relive A Page Of Cold War History On The Glienicke Bridge While Shooting The Historic Exchange Of Soviet Spy Rudolf Abel And U-2 Pilot Francis Gary Powers
Steven Spielberg is the grandfather of every film-loving child born in the 1980s. He’s constructed some of our most vivid collective childhood dreams and played with our imaginations, and has retained a graceful, wise, father-figure-esque stature in our minds. There is almost no other filmmaker like Steven Spielberg, who seems to live and breathe and speak in cinematic language, wouldn’t need dialogue or music or any other filmmaking tool – but it’ll just make him that much more powerful – and is essentially a mosaic of Hitchcock, Kurosawa, and John Ford. He is a movie-making machine, and fortunately for us, his project selection and personal interests reliably engage and entertain us every couple of years, instead of dropping to the lower levels of quality that older filmmakers usually descend to.
Regarding those interests and ideals that Spielberg has been working out in his films for quite some time now – those concepts of justice, national ideals and moral standing – his filmmaking is so good, that we are happy to sit through another two and a half hour film about honor, where characters give speeches about values and bravely stand up for themselves. This story – while true, and incredibly rich with its own history – is essentially one you’ve seen before. You could argue it’s a Western, a High-Noon for the Cold War, where one man – Tom Hanks – strolls into enemy territory and stands up for truth, honor, and justice. This might sound trite, or overly familiar, but this is exactly why Bridge of Spies is so surprising. It’s Steven Spielberg reminding us how incredibly engaging his filmmaking is, that he can make such a traditional film and have it feel so welcome to our bones in 2016.
Tom Hanks is great, since he seems to actually care about this material and is either involved as on or off-screen talent of political, historical material such as this(see Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, The Assassination of President Kennedy, Game Change, etc.), and isn’t stuck rehearsing shitty dialogue for yet another airport, paperback, Dan Brown lump of garbage. This is written by the Coen Brothers, and you can tell. It’s not overtly zany or glaring and intrusive on their parts, though, as their artistic voice shines through when it needs to, and pulls back when it needs to, as well.
I enjoyed this film, and am always happy to have a Spielberg Blu-ray with all its Bonus Features and pristine image quality on my hands. It’s a nice little package, and I’d recommend you see this one before you’re near death and realize there’s a Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg film you haven’t seen yet. This is Spielberg pleading, before he gets much older himself, that we need to remember our traditional standing of morality, that we used to value one human life as much as another, and that it is possible to stand up for these ideas without “losing”.
Purchase Bridge of Spies here.
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