Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Spielberg's 'The Post' revives the thrill in political thrillers

Spielberg's 'The Post' revives the thrill in political thrillers

Her right hand man is Ben Bradlee, the Post's editor, played by Tom Hanks. But the more intriguing figure is Post president and publisher Kay Graham (Streep), a woman in an overwhelmingly male world, who was thrust into the position of leading the company after her husband's death, and struggles to be taken seriously by nearly all of the men who work with or for her.

The Pentagon Papers were a trove of leaked secret documents about the Vietnam War contradicting the official version of government officials' pronouncements. The report, leaked to the Times by a former Pentagon analyst, Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys), details how top officials in the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations knew the war was impossible to win, but lied to the public to keep it going at an added cost of thousands of USA service members' lives. He'd seen a script about the publication of the Pentagon Papers, which the White House had attempted to block. This is more so because WaPo at that time was a small, family-owned business with no conflict of interest with any political or corporate entity.

"When I first started watching movies, I didn't know that they were made by people, I genuinely thought that they were handed down from God", said Gerwig.

Spielberg may see "The Post" as a criticism of the Trump administration, but as he unpacks the publishing process in a way that is both informative and engrossing, his film also becomes an indictment of our modern 24/7 news cycle, which has a tendency to spit out headlines and half-formed stories without so much verification as determination.

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In this image released by 20th Century Fox, Tom Hanks portrays Ben Bradlee in a scene from "The Post".

After receiving Golden Globes nominations in six categories, including best motion picture drama and best screenplay, viewers all over the USA will finally get to see the film on Friday. The 75th Golden Globe Awards will be held on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018 on NBC.

Thing is, the board doesn't want to take the legal risk, and if the Post DOES publish, Bradlee and Graham could lose their positions and wind up in jail. At that time The Post was a local newspaper that was given to her husband to run by Graham's father.

And just as Phil Alden Robinson turned a baseball diamond in Iowa into something of a shrine in "Field of Dreams", Spielberg shoots the Washington Post newsroom and the printing presses of the early 1970s with romanticized accuracy.

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"Yeah, I think she's more than qualified".

Of course, Bradlee isn't the one making the final call. And Streep is so good with subtleties that Graham's growing strength and personal empowerment are hardly perceptible until, at once, her transformation into an engaged leader who not only commands but demands equal respect among her peers in the evolving days of feminism is complete.

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As always, Spielberg is a great storyteller who is never better than when doing biographical material like Schindler's List, Bridge of Spies, Lincoln, Munich, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal and Amistad - or movies based on real-life events like Saving Private Ryan and War Horse. It's vital that the rest of America learns them, and quickly. He's the story's clear villain, looking to silence the paper and stop the truth from coming out, and Spielberg wisely keeps his distance from him, using him as a symbol rather than a character.

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"The Post" is rated PG-13 for language and brief war violence; running time: 115 minutes.

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