Steven Spielberg will return in 2015 with his first directorial effort in three years, following the Oscar-winning Lincoln. Spielberg’s new movie, Bridge of Spies, marks the seasoned filmmaker’s fourth time directing Tom Hanks, but it’s the duo’s first project together since the comedy/drama The Terminal was released over a decade ago, in 2004.
Bridge of Spies is a historical drama inspired by real events and based during the peak of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 20th century. Hanks stars as James Donovan, a Brooklyn attorney who is called upon to negotiate the release of an American U-2 pilot captured by the Soviets, in return for the release of Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), a Soviet spy caught on U.S. soil. This task not only means Donovan must travel to East Berlin (a dangerous place for a westerner to visit) to make the deal, but also handle the angry citizens back home who view him as a traitor because of his actions.
There are shades of Spielberg’s previous Cold War era drama/thriller Munich in Bridge of Spies, based on the footage in the newly-released trailer for the film (watch it above), while the new preview’s terse mood and cold visual style bring to mind slow-burn Soviet spy tales such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The Bridge of Spies screenplay co-written by Matt Charman (a newcomer) and the Oscar-winning Coen Brothers also seems to resemble Tony Kushner’s Lincoln script – dramatizing a historical event so that it resonates with modern social/political relevance.
Bridge of Spies appears to have a lot of promise, which is kind of a no-brainer when you consider the collective resume of the people who helped make it, in combination with the film’s intriguing subject matter. That’s not to say the movie’s a sure hit with the masses, as Spielberg’s recent period dramas (Lincoln, War Horse) have their detractors despite being generally-acclaimed, while the Coen Brothers’ script work on the 2014 Louis Zamperini biopic Unbroken (which they also didn’t direct) earned a mixed reception. Still, Spielberg plus Hanks plus the Coens is a combination that will be hard for any movie buff worth their salt to pass on.
Rylance, for those unfamiliar, is an award-winning screen and stage actor, whose work on Bridge of Spies impressed Spielberg enough for the director to cast him as the title character in his next project, the Roald Dahl novel adaptation The BFG (which opens in Summer 2016). There aren’t any slouchers in theBridge of Spies supporting cast either, with people such as Oscar-nominee Amy Ryan (Birdman) and Oscar-nominee Alan Alda (The Blacklist) playing key side roles. Watch for this one during awards season.
Bridge of Spies opens in U.S. theaters on October 16th, 2015.