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Monday, May 16, 2016

Bridge of Spies (2015)

I have been on a great run of watching good movies, and this is no exception (despite the fact that it is over two hours long).   It chronicles the real life story of the Russian spy Rudolph Abel (played by Mark Rylance, who won Best Supporting Actor for this role) and his court appointed lawyer, Jim Donovan (played ably by Tom Hanks).  Donovan is tasked with appearing to provide a competent defense for Abel, despite the fact that he was not a criminal defense attorney, and he took that job more seriously than most intended him to, appealing his conviction to the Supreme Court, where he lost.  His commendable approach to defending Abel won him no friends and plenty of enemies, and when he was approached about brokering a prisoner exchange with the Soviets several years later he participated, despite the poor treatment he had received.  The most interesting thing about watching the movie was the outrage our son had at the prisoner’s treatment.  He didn’t realize that many of the rights that he takes for granted post-dated the time of the movie.  The most disturbing thing about watching the movie is that not much has changed in our approach to those who wish to do us harm.  The public opinion and treatment of Abel is very reminiscent of terrorists put on trial and the fact that we lacked Guantanamo in the 1950s was not lost on me.  We have a long way to go to extend civil rights equally to all. 

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