It’s really rare that I walk into a movie with no knowledge of an actor whatsoever and leave thinking they deserved an Oscar for what I just saw. It is UNPRECEDENTED for the Academy to actually agree with me on that statement. However, that’s what happened last year when Mark Rylance pulled an upset and won Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Bridge of Spies.
Bridge of Spies is easily Steven Spielberg’s best film in a decade. It didn’t do very well at the box office, but it helped to reassure people like me who have been banging their heads against the wall watching the once-flawless director bungle movie after movie. This week, Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG (also starring Rylance) will hit theaters, and he will then go on to adapt Ready Player One, which I think is one of the best sci-fi novels I’ve ever read. Spielberg’s direction, though, isn’t what makes Bridge of Spies a really good film with great moments. For those, you can thank the Coen Brothers (who wrote the screenplay) and the wonderful performances by Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance. Their characters developed an amazing rapport, never more so evident in the “Standing Man” scene. Beautiful dialogue and nuanced performances, turn a quiet moment in a cell into the best scene in the film.