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The start of the movie is not great, very much hard to follow what's going on but at the end it gets really good.
It is not an entertaining movie but more a movie for the time we live in considering the weighted subject it covers. The movie is really about freedom of the press and its importance in a democracy and about gender equality. It achieves these objectives by covering the true story of attempts by journalists at The Washington Post to publish the Pentagon Papers, classified documents regarding the 30-year involvement of the United States government in the Vietnam War and paying homage to one of the first female publishers of a major American newspaper. The movie got an ensemble cast who give superb performances and the direction is top notch. I did find the movie to be a bit slow and boring but an educational one in the end.
This movie is perfectly OK but it should really be better than it is when looking at the talent assembled and that's what causes me to partially dislike the film. It feels more like a box ticking exercise than a film that's sprung out of genuine creativity or interest in telling an important or entertaining story. This manufactured sheen never quite dissipates throughout the whole film which causes it to lack the passion and intensity of The Insider (1999) or All the President's Men (1976). Steven Spielberg is possibly the greatest popular film director of all time but his later work feels half baked and we can only hope that he is able to produce a film with even half the creativity and innovation of Jaws (1975) or The Color Purple (1985).
Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, Meryl Streep, faces immense pressure from both sides of the aisle in 1971 as her newspaper is able to accessed previously unpublished files, the Pentagon Papers, and present them to the public is she agrees to their publishing. She is a close friend of Robert McNamara, Bruce Greenwood, who would face severe repercussions if the public were to know the contents of the papers and is talked down to by the men who surround her. She eventually builds up the nerve to push for the story to be published and the story is a success as it briefly saves the Washington Post from financially languishing.
Streep and Tom Hanks give solid if unremarkable performances in their roles and although our lack of wonderment may only be because we expect so much from them the truth is that we do and they don't do their best work here. Streep is convincing as an intelligent, self possessed woman who feels uncomfortable assuming a position of authority despite her high powered status. She employs all of her usual tricks to subtly show how Katharine feels crowded out in an environment where she is technically the person with absolute control and a lesser actress could not have pulled this off quite as well. Despite all of this I don't think that Streep was deserving of her Best Actress nomination, I would have preferred Rachel Weisz for My Cousin Rachel (2017) or Andie MacDowell for Love After Love (2017), as I don't think the film deserved a Best Picture nomination.
Another big issue with the film was that no real tension was built in whether Graham would stand up to the patriarchy or not or whether the papers would get published. Maybe it's the fact that we associate Spielberg with feel good films, excepting Schindler's List (1993), Munich (2005) and many other less acknowledged films, but even Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) builds up some anticipation in it's audience. Everything felt recycled from other films with scenes of newspapers printing and dedicated workers aggressively stabbing away at typewriters lacking the freshness they had in the 1970s. This film failed to say anything new about the nature of journalism or politics and for the man who so often took genres and put his own unique stamp on them this is disappointing.
The film's allusions to the current political climate in the United States also feel obvious and tiresome as we are yet to see a film tackle the Trump administration with subtlety. Perhaps with time filmmakers will become better at criticizing the practices of Trump as a potentially corrupt political leader but for now directs who lack subtlety such as Spielberg should stay away from commenting an issue that we don't have enough distance from to fully analyze.
This is not a film worth seeing as nearly everybody involved in it has made several infinitely better films. Spielberg has directed Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and The Sugarland Express (1974), Streep is fantastic in The Bridges of Madison County (1995) and The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), Hanks is wonderful in Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and even Bruce Greenwood excels in The Sweet Hereafter (1997). Go watch all of these films before you even consider watching this film which is so average it almost makes you mad, it's not a worthy entry to the filmographies of Spielberg, Streep or Hanks.
"The Post" chronicles the story of the Pentagon papers, when American military analyst, Daniel Ellsberg, shared top-secret documents outlining the depths of the US government's deceptions about the futility of the Vietnam War. There is great acting, as you would expect from Meryl Streep of course, as the country's first female newspaper publisher, torn on whether to publish the information. It's true-life origins adds interest but its dramatic suspense is still gripping. And even though its capture is of a point in time of US history, one cannot help but draw parallels to similar modern situations of the press vs the US government and associated issues.
FInally watched it. Hugely exceeded my expectations. The cinematography was fantastic- even made the printing presses were exciting. A fantastic reminder of the heros fighting to inform the American people and the importance of
our freedom of press.
Spielberg does political thriller.
It develops an interesting topic with amazing performances.
It seems somewhat surprising that 2017's The Post marks the first time that Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks have all collaborated together. From this triumvirate of living screen legends, one expects near perfection, even in a project whipped up in as quick time as this political drama, a watchable if slightly more staid Spielberg production.
The Post acts almost as a precursor to Alan J. Pakula's All The President's Men, telling the story of the Pentagon Papers and how The Washington Post battled with Nixon's White House to uncover shady government secrets over the Vietnam War. Meryl Streep is Kay Graham, the first female owner of a major American newspaper, whose job, we are led to believe, mainly involves high-class socialising and cagey board meetings where her gender is looked upon with raised eyebrows. The Post charters Graham's legal battle for the freedom of her paper, helped by her boisterous editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks).
In many ways, The Post left me feeling slightly disappointed. Here, Spielberg is very content in his craft, almost to the point of complacency. The film is entertaining enough but lacks the edge of some of the director's better political dramas like Lincoln. Though The Post is very much a period piece (the attention to detail of the era is satisfying), its commentary is clearly intended to echo the climate of today, where the office of the President of the United States stands even more overt in its quashing of the free press. Whilst there is no denying the importance of the message, it's one dealt with little subtlety in this film, with characters frequently quoting the First Amendment and uttering melodramatic statements of responsibility. The Post feels far too much like it's trying to say something, weighing the film down even amongst the capable direction and talented ensemble.
I also found Streep's performance to be underwhelming, her understated delivery bordering on passionless. Hanks is far more impressive, giving Bradlee an enjoyable level of gravitas. Even then, however, the characters in The Post never feel particularly convincing, mere products of the plot rather than engaging figures in their own right. There is also a distinct lack of tension, where even at points of climax in the narrative, the film feels stuck in a sedate vacuum, finally ending in a cadence that seems to come all too quickly and with a little too much Amblin-schmaltz.
That being said, The Post is still a very competent drama that, even in the face of its problems, remains voraciously watchable. There is no denying the talents of the team behind this film; whilst the subject matter never quite convinces you that it wouldn't be better as a documentary, Spielberg still has a good hand on the storytelling and there are some great turns by members of the ensemble cast (Bob Odenkirk's performance feels the most genuine the film gets). John William's score is a complimenting addition, as is Janusz Kaminski's camera, littered with wide shots of muted colours that nostalgically remind one of vintage Spielberg work.
In the end, The Post is no masterpiece; it's standard, uninspiring drama that always falls slightly short of the skilful team behind it. The points it raises boast relevance; perhaps The Post needs a less clumsy and rawer delivery, but it's a message that still feels important when told even with middling capability. Though it certainly won't be remembered as a Spielberg, Streep or Hanks classic, The Post is still an able piece of filmmaking that could be a nicely unchallenging evening watch.
Why would anyone care about such a lame subject, especially when there is no such thing as an honest journalist. It’s so funny how self-important people think they are.
A good movie overall. The story wasn't all that powerful to me though. And although I'm a huge Tom Hanks fan this is one of the few that I just kept seeing Tom Hanks rather than the character. Good for one watch, I don't think I'd bother again