At the height of the cold war, a pragmatic insurance attorney (Tom Hanks) is tapped by his firm to defend an overwhelmingly guilty, both by the questionably attained evidence and in the fervant court of public opinion, stoic Russian spy (Mark Rylance) to present an international view of fair treatment. Shortly after procuring a relatively light sentence for his client and becoming a much maligned figure in the press, the counselor is once again called upon to travel to East Germany to negotiate for the swap of an American spy pilot, recently shot down behind enemy lines. Bridge of Spies is a well made though overlong spy pic, intentionally drab and dreary, crafted in the vein of a John le Carre quasi thriller by the Coen Brothers along with Matt Charman. In spite of the material and its intentions, its director still strives for nauseating Spielbergian moralizing and uplift, with a first act that plays like a civics class and a second which isn't as dramatically pulling at it should be. Hanks is well cast, putting his affable attributes to good use and Rylance, an unknown to me, is a self-effacing standout.
** 1/2 out of ****