(2015) (Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance) (PG-13)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: A 1950s era insurance claims lawyer is not only tasked to defend an alleged Soviet spy in court, but also to handle the prisoner swap between that man and a downed Air Force pilot now held captive by the Soviets.
- It's 1957 and the feds have just arrested Rudolf Abel (MARK RYLANCE) for being a Soviet spy in Brooklyn. Not wanting it to appear he'll be railroaded through his trial, the feds put pressure on James Donovan (TOM HANKS), an insurance claims lawyer who works for Thomas Watters (ALAN ALDA), to defend the suspect in court. James isn't sure he wants the job, a sentiment strongly supported by his wife, Mary (AMY RYAN) -- what with having a number of young children and knowing the public backlash that will most certainly occur. But he eventually takes it as his patriotic duty and sets out to come up with a defense for Abel, something that doesn't sit well with Judge Byers (DAKIN MATTHEWS) who's presiding over the case and has already made up his mind about its outcome. James realizes that, but pleads that Abel's life be spared, just in case the U.S. needs to do some sort of prisoner swap in the future.
That chance comes when Air Force First Lieutenant Francis Gary Powers (AUSTIN STOWELL) is shot down over the Soviet Union flying a recon mission for the CIA. Despite being told not to be captured alive, he is. Presumably based on his previous advice, James is once again tapped by the feds to serve his country, this time as the negotiator for the prisoner exchange that's to take place in Berlin where the communists have begun erecting the Berlin Wall between the east and west sides.
Accompanied to the city by CIA operations officer Hoffman (SCOTT SHEPHERD) but then left to his own devices, James sets off to meet someone named Wolfgang Vogel (SEBASTIAN KOCH) who's reportedly not only the lawyer for Abel's wife, but also for American graduate student Frederick Pryor (WILL ROGERS) who's been captured by the German Democratic Republic, for whom Vogel works. Others who aren't what they initially seem also includes Ivan Schischkin (MIKHAIL FOREVOY), a KGB operative posing as the assistant secretary in the Soviet Embassy in East Berlin. Once James figures out the players and their loyalties, he sets out not only to exchange Abel for Powers, but also Pryor, an audible that threatens to derail the swap and possibly national security as well.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- Older teens might have an interest, especially with Hanks starring and Steven Spielberg directing.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
- For some violence and brief strong language.
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