I was excited like never before to see this movie! Why? Because we have an all-star crew working on this movie. With Steven Spielberg directing, the Coen Brothers writing, and Tom Hanks in the lead role, how can this movie possibly bomb?
Well, it didn’t bomb, but it didn’t satisfy either. The camerawork is pretty good, and the cinematography (by Janusz Kaminski) is stunning. The acting is decent (but not Oscar worthy), Thomas Newman’s score is OK, and there are even some funny jokes scattered throughout the movie. There aren’t many objectively bad things about this movie, it just didn’t carry the emotional impact or thrills that it should have. I would place the blame on the screenplay (also written by Matt Charman). I will admit that I do not know as much about the Coen’s as I probably should, but what I do know is that most of their films involve gritty suspense, action, and the occasional dose of black comedy. When they took up writing a “based on a true story,” war (Unbroken) the results were less than positive. The same can be said for this movie. My Dad (who is an avid follower of the Coen’s works) explained to me that they were, “out of their element” while writing this movie. Sadly, that really shows. There have been movies that were mostly just characters talking (Se7en, The Social Network, 12 Angry Men), but what this movie does not have in common with those other films, is a constant state of tension. Sure, every now and then we get a thrilling scene, but most of the movie is really flat.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a fine movie, but it is not as good as it could have been, and from the man who directed Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, that is a bit of a disappointment. It is completely up to you if you want to see this movie because the general consensus is that most people love this movie, but (obviously) I disagree. Bridge of Spies gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a B.