IN THE SHADOW OF WAR, ONE MAN SHOWED THE WORLD WHAT WE STAND FOR.
After defending a Soviet spy (Mark Rylance), resulting in a guilty verdict, attorney James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is contacted by the USSR in the form of a backchannel message, indicating that they might be interested in a prisoner exchange… Set at the time when the Berlin Wall was erected and the U.S. pilot Gary Francis Powers was shot down and captured in the Soviet Union, this exciting, fact-based drama takes us behind the Iron Curtain as Hanks tries to manipulate both Russians and East Germans in Berlin. History is cleverly made to fit a formula; credibly, engagingly staged and very well acted by Hanks and Rylance as the enigmatic spy.
2015-U.S. 142 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Steven Spielberg, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Marc Platt. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Screenplay: Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen. Music: Thomas Newman. Production Design: Adam Stockhausen. Cast: Tom Hanks (James B. Donovan), Mark Rylance (Rudolf Abel), Scott Shepherd (Hoffman), Amy Ryan, Sebastian Koch, Alan Alda… Jesse Plemons.
Trivia: Years earlier, Gregory Peck and Alec Guinness were considered for the leads.
Oscar: Best Supporting Actor (Rylance). BAFTA: Best Supporting Actor (Rylance).
Last word: “We shot [the Berlin Wall scenes] on the border of Poland and Germany in a town called Breslau. There’s a Polish name for it, but when the Germans invaded Poland they changed the name to Breslau. […] There are still bullet holes in all the buildings from WWII there. They never repaired it. We went to the area to the closest to East Berlin that looked just like East Berlin. […] We actually built that wall. A wonderful production designer, Adam Stockhausen, who does all of Wes Anderson’s movies and he did ’12 Years a Slave’ – won his first Oscar for that – he did our movie and did an incredible, exceptional job really making a modern scenic look exactly the way it looked all those years ago.” (Spielberg, Collider)