Blu-Ray Review: ‘Bridge of Spies’

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Somehow, I managed to miss out on seeing Bridge of Spies when it opened theatrically last year. Every time I would make tentative plans to finally catch it, something would get in the way, and I would postpone it once again. But when a Blu-Ray copy showed up on my doorstep last week, I made it a point to carve a few hours out of my schedule and check it out.

Although Chris gave the theatrical release a glowing 5-star review, I found Bridge of Spies to be somewhat lacking. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an extremely competent film, guided by the steady hand of director Steven Spielberg, but I felt it lacked the emotional punch of his other collaborations with Tom Hanks. Everyone in Bridge of Spies is doing solid work, but none of the performances really elevate the film – it’s like each member of the cast elected to do the absolute bare minimum required to work with Spielberg, and no more than that.

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But my opinion of the film aside, there’s no denying that Bridge of Spies looks absolutely stunning on Blu-Ray. Cinematographer Janusz Kamiński has crafted an endless series of gorgeous shots, and the flawless 1080p transfer renders every shot in crisp, clean detail. The 7.1 surround mix also impresses, bringing to life the sounds of busy streets and crowded offices, while never drowning out the dialogue.

Regrettably, the special features on the Bridge of Spies Blu-ray fail to live up to the quality of the film’s presentation. There are four featurettes here, and some of them offer up some interesting insight into the real-life historical elements behind the narrative – but with a total running time of less than 45 minutes, this is mostly surface-level stuff. A commentary track from Spielberg or the cast would have been appreciated, and likely would have dug much deeper than any of the existing supplements.

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Bridge of Spies is a perfectly adequate entry in the Spielberg repertoire, but adheres a bit too closely to the “Oscar bait” formula. The top-notch audio and video presentation certainly enhance the viewing experience, but the lack of supplements make it tough to recommend adding this Blu-Ray to your collection.

70%
70%
Great Presentation
For an Okay Film

The latest collaboration between Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg arrives with a stunning audio and video presentation, but the lack of special features and the film's adherence to the "Oscar bait" formula make this a difficult recommendation.

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