Last night I had a wonderful date with my wife of twenty four years, Shelley. She’s a beautiful, intelligent and well-read woman who, like me, enjoys a good spy drama. No…she doesn’t care so much for James Bond, but give her a story with a real human connection and she’s in. So we went to see Bridge of Spies starring Tom Hanks.
As someone who knows his cold war history and served in military intelligence, I can vouch that the film was a well-crafted representation of what the spy world was like then and is now. Like The Imitation Game that came out earlier this year, Bridge of Spies takes a good look at the earliest days of the Cold War.
Looking back, we can feel secure in the knowledge that World War III did not happen. If we’re old enough, we might even remember the post-World War II era as a fond period of our childhood when the world seemed somehow safer than today. Of course, for those terrified defectors who rushed the Berlin wall while sentries shot at them it was a different experience all together. To our parent’s generation, the Russian bear was a great beast with real fangs and vicious claws. People were rightly afraid, and building a bomb shelter seemed down-right prudent to many.
The almost horror movie like terror experience for those who served on the front lines of the Cold War is what inspired me to write my own book, Red Coat Running. I wanted to capture that time and help the reader understand that we have been through fearful times before and, in that light, understand that uncertainty is normal. Yes, it is normal to live with the unknown. For all mankind’s history we have faced the fears of our age and come out the other side only to find a new age with new challenges. We are the human race…this is what we do.
Bridge of Spies did a great job of conveying these things to me. My wife and I also appreciated the human touch Tom Hanks brought to the roll of Mr. Donovan, a hapless attorney out of his depth yet determined to do right in a morally questionable situation. Frankly, the character was a lot like my Shawn Riggs of Red Coat Running, an out of his depth rookie agent also trying to do right. If they ever make a movie of my book (and man would that be cool), I would love them to hire the same team that pulled off Bridge of Spies.
I highly recommend you check this movie out.