NEW YORK (WABC) -- The film is called "Bridge of Spies" because that is where a couple of prisoners were exchanged at the height of the cold war. One was an American pilot shot down over the Soviet Union; the other, a Russian agent held by the U.S.
Insurance lawyer James Donovan, played by Tom Hanks, is recruited for the tough task of trying to ensure the spy gets a fair trial.
The spy, labeled a traitor, could easily be just a stock bad guy, but Mark Rylance makes him a fascinating, if still mysterious human being.
This is the latest in a long line of decent-men roles Hanks has played, and it marks the fourth time he's been directed by Steven Spielberg.
"When Tom was going full Donovan, yes, I was intimidated," Spielberg said. "He was strong."
The master's skill is obvious as the two strands to the story - the prisoner and the pilot - get equal weight.
The New York lawyer thought up the idea for the swap, and he's the natural choice to make it happen, in East Berlin.
Some of the tension dissipates due to the film being about a quarter of an hour too long, but it seems a small complaint to make about a movie that is very exciting and entertaining.