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Film Review: The Post

10:27 January 17, 2018
By: David Vicari

The Post is a crackling good journalistic thriller in the vein of  movies like All the President's Men (1976), Shattered Glass (2003), and Spotlight (2015). This based-on-fact film also has a great pedigree. It's directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.

It's 1971, and a fraction of The Pentagon Papers, which show 30 years of covering up the real reasons for America's involvement in the Vietnam War, have been leaked to the press. Ben Bradlee (Hanks), the no-nonsense editor of the small family newspaper, The Washington Post, wants to publish the findings, but he first has to convince the paper's female publisher, Kay Graham, to do it. The Nixon White House threatens to throw them in jail if they publish, citing government security and public safety, while the Post says it's freedom of the press.

This is a true story and you know the outcome, yet a great filmmaker like Spielberg is able to create an incredible amount of tension and suspense. Of course, Streep and Hanks are at the top of their game, and Spielberg allows their first scene together to mostly play out in a medium two-shot.

The Post also has a fantastic supporting cast. Bob Odenkirk adds humor as a newspaperman chasing down leads, and Bradley Whitford is the mouthpiece for the paper's board of directors who talks down to Graham because she is a woman. She became the first female publisher following her husband's suicide, so she wasn't taken too seriously by the men at the paper. There is a great moment for Streep's character late in the film—she leaves the court house and walks through a crowd of women as John Williams's music swells.

Even though this is a period piece, it is still all too relevant today. See it.

*** ½ out of four

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