STORY: USAF pilot Gary Powers is sent on a spy mission to overfly the USSR on a reconnaissance-cum-spy operation and take a bunch of photographs of sensitive areas in that country. A lawyer from Brooklyn, James Donovan (Hanks) is corralled by the CIA to help negotiate a spy exchange release, after Powers is captured.
REVIEW: That Tom Hanks has been taking a great interest in past global conflagrations, be it his series The Pacific or Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, holds much delight for viewers who are fans of this genre. But then, when you add the Steven Spielberg touch to it (not to mention Ethan and Joel Coen’s writing), you are left with something that is dusted with Oscar gold-dust. Make no mistake though; this isn’t Hanks-grade confection that’s meant to stimulate your tear glands. Nor does it play to any political gallery. What we have here is an honest-to-goodness retelling of a tense incident that occurred during the Cold War.
Rudolf Abel (Rylance) was arrested on charges of conspiracy by FBI agents in 1957 for stealing sensitive documents pertaining to the US military. It was during the apex years of the Cold War, and anyone who elicited even the slightest bit of suspicion, was castigated by American society as well as hounded by the authorities. Donovan was assigned to the task of brokering Powers’ release. But just when it seems like it is a straightforward (in as much as such an operation can actually be straightforward) mission in delicate diplomacy, it turns out that another American, has been captured not by the Russians, but by the East Germans. It is now up to Donovan to not only secure the exchange release of Powers in exchange for Abel, but also free another American who has been detained by the East Germans. A gripping thriller, this one is bold, audacious and shocking.