Steven Spielberg has a knack for directing movies that I like. To put it simply, I just enjoy the majority of the man’s work. Tonight I went into the theater not sure what to expect (the last Spielberg movie I saw in theaters, Lincoln, left me disappointed) and within minutes I had bought into the world presented and was excited to see where the story was going.
The plot is simple enough, you think: Tom Hank’s character, James Donovan, is hired by the US Government as the defense attorney for Mark Rylance’s character, Rudolf Abel, a soviet spy captured on US soil. Donovan is hesitant at first but soon realizes that the circumstances surrounding Rudolf’s arrest were not completely illegal: there was not a proper search warrant. Donovan decides it’s his duty to push the case as far as he can and see that proper justice, down to the letter of the law, is acted out for his client.
The film also has a side plot (which becomes important later) having to do with US Soldiers chosen by the CIA to fly secret missions over Russia. One of the soldiers is captured and held hostage by the Russians.
That’s all you get. Go watch this movie.
The cinematography is stunning. Not that I should be too surprised. Spielberg’s movies are always gorgeous. But he can also make practically anything he wants in any way which he wants. He has unlimited power in Hollywood and can express himself in any way he wishes. One could make the argument that he should try something riskier, and perhaps he should, but he also doesn’t have to make movies. He’s made his money and his career, at this point he’s making movies because it’s what he does; it’s what he enjoys.
Maybe Spielberg isn’t the boundary pusher he used to be, and maybe he isn’t trying as hard as he used to, but I’m not convinced he that he needs to. He’s still making good movies, and I enjoy them. Constantly I was blown away by the use of light in the film’s compositions and art direction. There were a lot of large windows letting in blinding white light. But, as I said earlier, I should be unsurprised as the play of light and shadow are always spectacular in Spielberg’s films.
I’m not certain, but this might be my favorite movie that I’ve seen so far from last year. I won’t say it’s the best necessarily, but it’s probably the most enjoyable of the year. Not enjoyable in the same way as Star Wars mind you, but still a very satisfactory movie. This might also rank among my favorite Spielberg movies.