The Post (2017)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson
Synopsis: A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for language and brief war violence)
Release Date: December 22, 2017
Humans have a natural instinct to desire to find the truth. Ironically, even those believing there is no "absolute truth" in the world still yearn to find the truth in their everyday life situations. It is something that was woven in us from the beginning, and the Biblical reference from John 8:32 that "the truth will set you free" rings truer than ever, even if it means negative consequences await.
Steven Spielberg's latest film, The Post, details the true story of the thirty-year cover-up of the US government's involvement in the Vietnam War and the Washington Post newspaper's attempts to publish the Pentagon Papers to expose the government's involvement. The film stars Meryl Streep as the owner and publisher of the Post and Tom Hanks as editor in chief of the newspaper.
While political films certainly don't hold the high entertainment value of blockbusters such as superhero films or science-fiction action flicks, Spielberg still finds a way to make The Post an engaging, well-paced film that not only excels on its truth-based material, but also on its strong references and relevance to the heightened truth solving Americans are currently craving, especially in the Trump era.
On a technical level, Spielberg uses hand held camera work for most of the interior scenes at the Washington Post, creating a sense of urgency and a palpably tense atmosphere as the editors and publishers work on how and when to reveal the Pentagon Papers. These scenes recall certain points in Catch Me If You Can (2002), another historical Spielberg film that used significant amounts of hand held camera work and had a constant sense of urgency. For other scenes in The Post such as discussions between Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), Spielberg uses long shots to create an even more realistic and natural conversation, and both Hanks and Streep work those scenes flawlessly.
Another important element and reference to today's (and yesterday's) society in The Post is Meryl Streep's character, who undergoes a substantial amount of reproach and ridicule at the hands of her male coworkers during her decision on whether to publish the papers or not. She has to battle the external forces as well as her internal demons, as publishing could ruin her family's legacy and end the newspaper altogether. It's a major conflict that helps the viewer establish interest and empathy in her story and the significance of the events that are about to unfold.
The Post is another winner for Spielberg. It's certainly not his best film, but it's still a well paced, solidly acted, reflective film that succeeds in bringing a major historical event to the forefront in a timely manner.