Bridge of Spies is a heart-on-its-sleeve affirmation of American values -- not in the loaded contemporary sense of the term, but in the way the country was founded on values we have to work and fight to abide by.
Authentic re-creations of the period, including duck-and-cover clips about a nuclear holocaust that frightened young students, serve as a reminder of a time, not unlike our own, when the threat of terror kept a steady and disturbing beat.
Spielberg and Charman frame Donovan as a thin bulwark against the American government's attempts to work around its own supposed ideals at the height of the Cold War.
Bridge of Spies connects Cold War paranoia to today's terror. That's a bridge worth building.
When all the international parties finally meet up at the shadowy titular bridge, we get to witness humanity - and classic filmmaking - at its finest.
When a film is as enjoyable as this one, its timing so sweet, and its atmosphere conjured with such skill, do you really wish to register a complaint? Would it help?
Rylance's performance is particularly interesting as he infuses Abel's dry understatements on his predicament with just the right dose of quiet irony.
Bridge of Spies is solid and uplifting, but it doesn't extend Spielberg's range.
Who doesn't like to cozy up to an old-school spy thriller that knows how to build tension and tighten it?