I'm on a personal challenge to see as many of the Oscar nominated movies as possible by the Oscar Awards ceremony night, starting with Best Picture. I had already seen two of the eight when the nominations were announced, so I was one-fourth of the way to the first goal.
Last Friday night I went to see Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks. Note, there will be some spoilers in this blog post, so if you plan to see it, you may want to bookmark this for reading pleasure later. I've seen The Martian and Brooklyn, both great movies, but after seeing this movie, it has my current vote for Best Picture.
The story takes place during the Cold War where Russian spies were infiltrating the US and vice versa. A Russian spy was apprehended and the government approached Jim Donovan (Tom Hanks) to represent him in a court of law - because everyone deserves a "fair" trial. Donovan was an insurance lawyer and hadn't tried a criminal case in years, but he took on this task as a way to serve his country.
Paralleling to this story is the story of an American solider who was captured as a spy by the Russians and what ensues is a story of trade. One for one. The story involves the negotiating skills of Jim Donovan to not only trade the Russian spy for the US soldier, but also for an additional US student being held. The story beautifully depicted the terrible times that were the Cold War and the building of the Berlin Wall. Watching history on the screen was surreal.
At the end of the movie, when the trade was made, it was made on the Glienicke Bridge in Berlin, the exchange for one man for one man was made. The tension and drama of the build up as the confirmation was waiting from Checkpoint Charlie that the student had also been released kept you on the edge of your seat. I've spoiled enough, I won't go any further.
As I watched the movie and Jim Donovan (who was a real person) fight for the lives of two Americans, I also observed him seeing the value in the life of the Russian. His negotiating ability was to keep everyone coming out of this back to their home country, but also in good hands. His relationship with the Russian Spy and their connection was captivating. And more than once Jim uttered the words we hear so often today - All lives matter.
The Glienicke Bridge, the Bridge of Spies, was a place of redemption for Rudolf Abel, Russian Spy, and Frances Powell, US Soldier. Jim Donovan sacrificed a lot to bring these men to redemption....and back to their home countries.
Bigger than a negotiation with government officials or CIA representatives stands a Man who bridged the gap for us. Jesus sacrificed more than a lot. He sacrificed His Life so that I might be redeemed. That Bridge was Calvary, and His life was exchanged for mine. Because He knew all lives matter. Soli deo Gloria!