I begin with the proviso that I am not a fan of Steven Spielberg's films. Despite the high quality photography and acting, I always feel emotionally manipulated. Worse still, in his latter movies I have begun to feel bored as he constantly reworks the same themes - the search for a father figure, the need for a perfect hero, the idea that goodness must always win, even if the overarching time and tenor is bad. He seemed to me to create movies that were high gloss schmaltz.
Everything changes with BRIDGE OF SPIES, and I suspect that this has something profoundly to do with the fact that it was written by the Coen Brothers and stars Mark Rylance in a character of deeply ambivalent motives. The result is a film with a mordant wit, moral ambiguity, and one of the most convincing depictions of post-war Berlin that I have seen on screen. It is a movie of intelligence and nuance. Indeed, apart from the last five minutes where the Spielbergian schmaltz seeps back in, it's damn near perfect.