In some ways, Bridge of Spies was just what I expected and hoped it would be, based on having seen the trailer in the movie theatre. However, this did not in any way impinge upon the deep resonance and powerful impact of the film. Bridge of Spies is exciting, intense, well-written and well-acted. But more than these, more than anything else, it is powerful. And this power resounds from the movie’s setting of 1957 into our own age.
Put simply, Bridge of Spies (as suggested by the title) is an espionage thriller. And don’t worry if you’re fond of literal meaning: there is, in fact, an actual bridge that plays a crucial role in the movie. More specifically, Bridge of Spies centres around the efforts of Jim Donovan (played by Tom Hanks), who, despite being only an insurance lawyer, is asked to defend a Soviet spy caught on American soil. From there, the proceedings transform into a tense hostage negotiation, concerning a young American pilot shot down in Soviet Russia.
Brooklyn is a beautiful film, and the more I think about it the more this word seems the best and most appropriate to describe the movie: beautiful. It is a real film, authentic and honest, compassionate and perfectly paced.
What is Brooklyn about? It is set in the early 1950’s and follows a young woman named Eilis (played by Saoirse Ronan) who leaves her small hometown in Ireland for the better opportunity of Brooklyn, New York. As time passes, Eilis grows in confidence, pursues her aspirations of becoming a bookkeeper, and falls in love. However, when she returns to Ireland, she is torn again between two worlds, and a love triangle develops as well, throwing into confusion all that once seemed certain and forcing her to decide how she wants her future to unfold.
The Revenant is not a film that is always easy to watch. But this, for me, is one of the reasons why it is such a great and momentous movie.
If you know anything about The Revenant (which is nominated for a total of twelve Academy Awards), you are probably aware that poor Leonardo DiCaprio (playing the American explorer, Hugh Glass) is left for dead by his compatriots and then must embark on an epic quest for survival. The highlight of the movie’s trailer (and certainly one of the highlights of the movie itself) consists of Glass rasping out this memorable line: “I ain’t afraid to die anymore. I done it already.”
The Martian is not the type of movie in which I would normally be interested. I feel like a lot of my reviews are prefaced in this manner, with a full disclosure of my hesitant feelings towards a film before seeing it and having my expectations subverted (see my reflections on Inside Out). This is just another reminder that the realm of art calls for an open mind. Art- good art- should always involve an element of surprise. I want to be very careful here in using the word ‘surprise.’ There is an important distinction between ‘surprise’ and ‘shock.’ Even if the plot of a movie is entirely predictable, its aesthetic style and exploration of issues and themes can still surprise the viewer and suggest new truths. Similarly, a movie can surprise us without having to rely on shock tactics or shock value.
In this particular case, I was wary (and am still) of the genre of science fiction before walking into the theatre. This is not to say that the movie awakened in me an enduring passion for science fiction, but that art and beauty are capable of transcending the bounds of genre and holding truths for viewers of diverse predilections.