When “Schindler’s list” first came out I lived in London. I was meeting a good friend and major movie buff that day. Over the years together, we had watched all sorts of Iranian, Afghan, Icelandic or alternative South Pole native penguin films. I had even enjoyed some of them. He is as far from Hollywood movie wise as you can put someone. But he must have heard something good about it from someone he trusts more than me, so he graciously came along.
At the end of the movie he had to admit it was pretty good. Or “not as bad as I expected it” in his words. Since then Spielberg has moved on a lot. In fact I credit this entire genre to him. “Didactic movies which are made with enormous attention to detail and a ridiculous amount of research but are actually watchable and entertaining too while standing on their own as films too.” Since “Saving Private Ryan” it has become a trend. “Band of Brothers” or the Pacific adventures of the US army in WW2 on TV were simply mind blowing in the amount of work involved. I wish we had Greek film directors as able in “good” propaganda like this. From Byzantium to more recent history, we need the good Press urgently!
Movies with a message can get pretty tiring. These weren’t. OK, some of them overdid the appeal to emotions, flags, flashbacks and old men standing in front of graves. (All of which worked with me by the way, I cried like a baby through most of all that!) Often American propaganda films are just too heavy handed. Spielberg though, has it all figured out. He doesn’t need to whore himself or the cast in the pre-film publicity. Bridge of Spies is not only the great director back in form, but the whole PR machine being sensitive about it too.
Ah, and the film. Instantly attention grabbing shots, great character material. Even if you don’t get caught in the plot you have to admire the technical aspects. As the story unfolds you figure it out: the Cold War is still relevant. From Gitmo to Putin, these issues are still very much alive and important. Not a fan of Tom Hanks, but luckily the great director doesn’t let him “do a Tom Hanks” all over his scenes. Most of it is keen, sharp and to the point.
I clicked on the “Date” category because I assume that for some couples this is “heavy” and “serious”. In any case, if you don’t know much about this era, it would give you something to talk about over dinner. Which is precisely why I give it 7 out of 10 (if you haven’t got a clue) or 6 out of 10 for the rest of us. All those hours with Alex watching arty farty movies allows me a certain amount of snobbery, eh?