Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda, Amy Ryan, Eve Hewson (Rated M – 141 min).
Amongst the popcorn blockbusters, masterful director Steven Spielberg doesn’t mind an informative cinematic history lesson: Lincoln, Schindler’s List, Munich or Saving Private Ryan. This time it’s a true story involving the Cold War getting his midas touch.
With the unique style of the Cohen Bros (Joel & Ethan) on hand as writers, details are precise. Tom Hanks produces impeccable morals in the role of insurance lawyer James Donovan randomly assigned to the case of an alleged Soviet spy intruder based in New York. After a strong opening sequence the viewers already know whether he is innocent or not, however Jim (to his friends) sticks close to the rule-book in his representation while everyone else wants the Russkie eliminated.
In a time when the Iron Curtain existed and the KGB were the arch enemy of the CIA, both organisations had top secret agendas. The world in general was on constant alert for Cold War emergencies. By coincidence, an American pilot spying overhead enemy territory is shot down but survives to be taken prisoner. Jim is extended an invitation to swap his client with the pilot during an exchange to happen in East Berlin. Powerful moments evolve during this volatile period leading up to the swap with a second US citizen found to be held against his will sifted into the bargain.
Hanks delivers a performance as one would expect: Oscar-worthy to the point of exhaustion. As the alleged spy, Mark Rylance is all facial expressions and droll remarks but it works. Eve Hewson lights up the screen in a small role, the daughter of U2 maestro Bono, she will go far.
Various tense interludes are covered well, although no doubt long periods of nothing but heavy-handed political dialogue may put insomniacs asleep.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.