Editorial: Sitting in the rain
“It doesn’t matter,” James Donovan tells CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers in the final moments of Steven Spielberg’s Cold War-era drama Bridge of Spies.
Donovan, played to perfection by Tom Hanks, pauses and delivers the film’s resounding message seconds later.
“You know what you did,” the American lawyer-turned hostage negotiator calmly purrs.
It’s not an insinuation of guilt; rather, it’s a triumphant reminder about the perils of perception. Powers is nervous that he’ll automatically be branded a traitor who divulged classified information to the Soviets during his two years in captivity, even though he insists he “didn’t give them a thing.”
For Donovan, whose loyalty underwent the same microscopic inspection from the red-fearing American public despite his willingness to serve the country in one of its darkest hours, there’s only one thing that truly matters — finding internal contentment with the decisions you make, no matter how controversial they may appear at surface level.
The film, which made its world premiere at the New York Film Festival Sunday, Oct. 4, portrays the complex prisoner exchange that took place between the Soviet Union and the United States at the Glienicke Bridge in Berlin on Feb. 10, 1962.
I was fortunate enough to receive a press badge from the festival’s organizers and attend two premieres — an experience I will surely never forget and will be forever grateful for.
The other film I saw at the festival last weekend was Steve Jobs, which, not to try and stretch a thematic connection, was also very much a story entrenched with perception: how an obsessive genius wanted people to view him; what additional recognition he squandered through that deliberate and stubborn dedication to maintaining a distance from those closest to him; and why his legacy remains so nebulous to us — the consumers of his world-changing products — in the years following his death.
Director Danny Boyle doesn’t waste a minute in this incredibly fast-paced biopic, written by Aaron Sorkin, that takes us “behind the scenes” and “into claustrophobic spaces” on the day of three separate Apple product launches.
The title character, magnificently played by Michael Fassbender in what’s sure to be an Academy Award-nominated performance, never leaves the screen. And that’s a very intentional decision from Boyle and Sorkin, pushing the audience closer to the late Apple co-founder than ever before — warts and all.
After a two-and-half-hour wait sitting in the rain and high winds from Hurricane Joaquin, the high-octane tempo of this dialogue-driven film almost knocked me over. By the time its cast and crew ran on stage during a question-and-answer period with the media, I didn’t know what to think or feel.
All I could sense in that moment, as Hollywood’s best and brightest explained the film’s structure and its manic energy, is that I didn’t want to leave the theater.
I was just getting comfortable.