“Bridge of Spies,” directed by Steven Spielberg, stars Tom Hanks in one of his decent everyman roles that has made him one of the most beloved movie actors of modern times. Hanks plays James Donovan, an insurance lawyer who is given the thankless task of defending a captured Soviet spy named Rudolf Abel. The year is 1957, when Americans took Soviet espionage and the threat of nuclear annihilation very seriously. Donovan has signed up to be the second most hated man in America, next to Abel himself.
Review and recap Bridge of Spies
However, knowing that he is demonstrating that the American judicial system is fair and impartial, Donovan sets about his work with a will. In fact, he proves to be too good at his job for the comfort of the powers that be. They are interested in Abel having a fair trial and then a fair hanging. Donovan pleads the case all the way up to the Supreme Court and, while he doesn’t get his client off, he does cause Abel to avoid the electric chair.
The fact that Donovan was able to keep Abel alive turns out to be fortunate because then he is available to trade for a U2 pilot named Francis Gary Powers, who has the misfortune to be shot down over the Soviet Union. The CIA hires Donovan to arrange for the exchange. Here again the dogged lawyer exceeds his brief and manages to have included in the exchange an American student named Frederick Pryor, who had found himself on the wrong side when the Berlin Wall went up.
Hank’s James Donovan is not only a character, but a personification of America which, while making mistakes from time to time, always tries to do the right thing. He is an aggravation to authority figures, but his authority comes from the United States Constitution. With words and a little bit of poker player adroitness, he wins the day against both the Evil Empire and higher-ups in his own country who would compromise for convenience.
Characters and cast of Bridge of Spies include:
James B. Donovan – Tom Hanks (The Da Vinci Code, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile, Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. Banks, Charlie Wilson’s War, Cast Away, The Terminal)
Rudolph Abel – Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall, Blitz, The Other Boleyn Girl)
Agent Blasco – Domenick Lombardozzi (Boardwalk Empire, The Wire, God’s Pocket, SWAT, Phone Booth, Public Enemies, Rosewood)
Agent Gamber – Victor Verhaeghe (The Wolf of Wall Street, Chapter 27, August Rush, Boardwalk Empire)
Bates – Joshua Harto (The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Unthinkable)
Thomas Watters Jr. – Alan Alda (MASH, The Aviator, What Women Want, Tower Heist, The Blacklist, Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Four Seasons)
Lynn Goodnough – John Rue (The Departed, You Don’t Know Jack, House of Cards, Boardwalk Empire, Blue Bloods)
Doug Forrester – Billy Magnussen (Into the Woods, The East, American Crime Story, The Big Short)
Mary Donovan – Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone, Bridman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Escape Plan, Win Win, The Office, The Wire, In Treatment, Capote)
Peggy Donovan – Jillian Lebling
Roger Donovan – Noah Schnapp
Carol Donovan – Eve Hewson (The Knick, This Must Be the Place, Enough Said, Blood Ties)
Joe Murphy – Jesse Plemons (Battleship, Paul, Black Mass, Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, Fargo, Olive Kitteridge, The Master)
Agent Williams – Michael Gaston (Blindspot, The Man in the High Castle, The Leftovers, TURN: Washington’s Spies, Mad Men, Rubicon)