COMMENTS: What I love about Steven Spielberg is he plants his characters right into the target zone of a moral dilemma. Tom Hanks portrays Jim Donovan, who is jettisoned into such a target zone. He is asked to use his rusty attorney skills to defend a Soviet spy. The people who ask Donovan to do this, including the court judge, expect him to go through the motions efficiently enough to ensure that America is seen as acting with integrity, and at the same time making sure the spy is ultimately judged “guilty.” Despite being targeted by popular opinion himself, Donovan dances on the thin thread of this expectation with grace and agility. Mark Rylan as the Soviet spy has his own brand of honor and he refuses to betray his country, which elicits respect from Hanks’ character. Meanwhile, an American pilot is captured by the Russians. So rusty attorney Donovan is asked to go to Berlin and negotiate a prisoner exchange of the Soviet spy for the American pilot. Once in Berlin, Donovan learns that an American student has been imprisoned in a Berlin jail on suspicion of espionage, and he is determined to rescue the student as well as the American pilot. Once again, Donovan must perform his dance on a thin thread to effect the exchange successfully.
Hanks is magnificent as the “ordinary” man who must rise to the challenge of acting as a hero. What makes him so credible is that he truly embodies an ordinary man who somehow reaches deep inside himself to find his inherent goodness of character and somehow make miracles happen. He is driven by an ability to see, without compromise, what is the “right” thing to do despite whatever his country, his superiors, and his enemy want him to do. And then he acts for his own reasons, which is what makes him a hero. A splendid film. Strong recommend.
IMDB Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3682448/?ref_=nv_sr_1
TAGS: Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda, Cold War, Spies, Soviet