Title – The Post (2017)
Director – Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies)
Cast – Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Bruce Greenwood, Jesse Plemons, David Cross, Sarah Paulson, Tracy Letts
Plot – Washington Post owner Kay Graham (Streep) and hew newspaper head Ben Bradlee (Hanks) grapple with the decision to publish the secret government documents known as the Pentagon Papers in light of the Nixon governments threats of legal action to any media that would make the reports public.
“News is the first rough draft of history”
Review by Eddie on 19/02/2018
While there’s nothing specifically wrong about The Post, you can’t escape the feeling that this workmanlike Spielberg effort is an oddly forgettable experience that lacks a real beating heart or a truly standout component to make it something worthy of much praise.
Like reporting drama darlings before it such as usual suspect All The Presidents Men and 2014’s big kahuna Spotlight, The Post sees Spielberg follow a very well-worn and inescapable pattern of filmmaking as we begin to follow the true life story of the Washington Post’s dealings with the highly politically and potentially life-changing Vietnam War papers that leaked to the press in the 1970’s.
The pattern that The Post follows makes it familiar from the get-go and while Spielberg as per-usual can be relied upon to tell a story as good, if not better, than anyone else can, the very nature of The Post’s being places it into a corner it can’t get out of as we follow Meryl Streep’s determined paper owner Kay Graham and Tom Hanks committed newspaper boss Ben Bradlee on their journey through a time in which the very nature of free-press was being threatened.
Both performers are fine without standing out, Streep yet again sneaking into an Oscar race that she arguably shouldn’t of been contending and in doing so both A-listers contribute to the fact that The Post feels perfectly adequate without ever threatening to be anything more, there are no surprises here, no real standout pieces of Spielberg magic, even long time musical collaborator John Williams score fails to illicit much in the way of advanced emotional engagement.
What The Post does have in its favour however, and a likely reason as to why it has found itself competing in this year’s field of Best Picture nominees at the Oscars, is a timely expose of freedom of speech and in particular news outlets reporting the truth for the people and by the people.
In an age where it appears as though “fake news” has all of a sudden become a very real and dangerous thing, The Post is a not to subtle dig at our current state of reporting affairs and Presidential meddling and in reminding us all of the importance the papers, TV and general reporting play in our lives, Spielberg has done us all a favour.
Final Say –
As polished as you’d expect from a Spielberg movie that stars icons like Streep and Hanks, The Post is an easy watch and one that tells a relevant story but there’s also something overly workmanlike about this particular awards baiter and a sense that we’ve seen this type of thing before and seen it done better.
3 lemonade stands out of 5