"Would it help?"
It seems borderline ridiculous to even make such a statement, but I feel that Steven Spielberg might be one of the most underrated directors around. Sure he's got two Oscars and countless blockbusters under his belt, but he's rarely mentioned as the master of the craft that he most assuredly is. Perhaps his critical and commercial success has branded him unhip or uncool, but no one makes films with quite the elegance that Spielberg does. Combine that with the fact that he's working from his best script in years, and it's not a stretch to say that Bridge of Spies is his most wholly satisfying film since 2005's Munich.
Spielberg's stable of talent—cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, editor Michael Kahn, and star Tom Hanks—assembles for this slow burn Cold War thriller. Much like that conflict itself, the film is light on incident and heavy on words. Hanks plays Jim Donovan, an insurance lawyer thrust into the spotlight when his firm asks him first to defend an accused Soviet spy (an outstanding Mark Rylance), and later to negotiate his transfer for one of two captured Americans. Any audience member buying a ticket for a rip-roaring espionage yarn is going to be sorely disappointed, but those willing to hang with the film as it navigates the impossible mine field that was the Cold War will find it to be a fascinating film.
Thanks to a top notch script by Matt Charman and Joel & Ethan Coen, and excellent work from Hanks, Rylance, and the rest of the cast, Bridge of Spies is an engaging and fascinating film. Although it presents no easy answers, it also wisely avoids clichés and other heavy handed elements that could have sunk the whole endeavor. This is fine work from a top tier director, and though it's unlikely to enjoy the universal success of his much more accessible films, it really is the sort of film you've been hoping he'd make more frequently; Smart, elegant, and funny adult entertainment.