Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

My Favorite Scene: Bridge of Spies (2015) “Standing Man”

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.

Tom Hanks, 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.

Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies

7 thoughts on “My Favorite Scene: Bridge of Spies (2015) “Standing Man””

  1. Bridge of Spies is Lincoln. A character practicing the art of negotiation, for a noble end. And the amazing thing is, it’s actually FUN.

    Rylance upstages Hanks. And I certainly had never heard of him. The scene you’re spotlighting is a gem.

    Like I keep saying, I really do wish the film had ended with Hanks, standing alone on the bridge. As it stands, the last ten minutes of the film bring it down a few notches, which is a shame. I would say that Spielberg’s habit of directing endings that go on and on began with Schindler’s List, and the “I could have done more” scene. It’s not the very last scene, but it’s close, and it mars an otherwise perfect movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I thought Rylance stole this film and looked him up as soon as I got home. WHO IS THIS GUY? I thought he was a much more sympathetic person than our spy. Spielberg and endings, sigh. This was not as bad as Lincoln, which was the most egregious of his botched endings. I have to completely disagree on Schindler’s List, because that scene is pivotal to Schindler’s character and because it leads directly into the powerful ending of the Schindler Jews in 1993. A lot of people think Saving Private Ryan’s end is schmaltzy, again, I think it was needed to show that Ryan had been carrying this burden of “was I worth all this?” his whole life and looking for validation toward the end. Catch Me If You Can in 2002 was probably the end of Spielberg’s golden era; the last great film he put out. This was really really good, but it doesn’t really feel like a Spielberg film with the Coens words and Thomas Newman scoring instead of John Williams. At any rate, I have scenes I love that play through my mind and Standing Man was one of my favorite from last year. Just two guys talking in a cell, all nuance. Two fantastic actors, beautiful words and an unforgettable moment that really bonds those two men for life.


      1. The idea of the “I could have done more” scene was fine. I have read that Schindler really said that. I just think it’s protracted in the extreme.

        The ending of Catch Me if You Can is overly protracted too. I love the movie though, I saw it three times in the theater, which is rare for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Spielberg has always had a problem with the endings, but it’s a problem that’s gotten infinitely worse as his career has progressed. Maybe it’s the same thing we were discussing with Lucas: a lack of a creative peer to tell him, “You gotta end this here.” Lincoln is ultimately still going to live for the ages because it contains one of the best performances of all-time, but if he’d just faded to black while he walked down that hallway, it would have ranked with his best films. It’s that kind of thing that makes him so frustrating. Ready Player One is going to be a challenge. It’s an amazing book, and I could not recommend it more.


      3. I think Steve is uncomfortable with leaving his audience with any lose ends, or ambiguity, or dark implications whatsoever. Everything needs to end on the 100% sunniest note imaginable. That does not explain all of his endings, but it does explain some.

        The only exception is AI… I will go to my grave believing that the super-evoked robots in the final sequence only pretended to bring back David’s mom, and at the end of his day with her, the robots shut him down. That’s the significance of David closing his eyes at the end. Spielberg took a dark Kubrick ending, and shot it like a warm Spielberg ending, but a Kubrick ending it is.

        It’s interesting… when Steve took on the mantle of Kubrick, it was like a genetic mutation, but Bridge of Spies was like the product of successful genetic engineering. Maybe it’s because the Coens are still alive.


      4. It certainly has more heart than a lot of the films that are 100% theirs. I’d like to see them write more scripts for other directors.

        Liked by 1 person

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