It’s 1971. Flying back from a fact finding mission, US Secretary of State Robert McNamara is expressly told that the US are losing Vietnam War. However minutes later, smiling in front of journalists on the tarmac he assures them of the very opposite. For one former Marine and military analyst on the same trip this is too much. In turn this starts a chain of events that will define both the history of a newspaper and a country at war with itself.
Director Steven Spielberg’s latest movie ‘The Post’ is a dramatisation of The Washington Post’s darkest hour. Faced with conflict from every quarter it is a retelling of true events whose pertinence for today is none the less shocking.
…Spielberg manages to let the personal dramas breathe life into the history.
Interestingly restrained, this is a movie devoid of the director’s usual flourishes. Gone are John Williams’ usual bombastic score or ear worm melodies. In fact ‘The Post’ is a very sober, factual drama which despite its myriad of details, Spielberg manages to let the personal dramas breathe life into the history.
With Meryl Streep as The Washington Post’s publisher-heiress Kay Graham and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee its uncompromising editor-in-chief, the cast really delivers in this absorbingly accessible drama. Where Kay Graham’s is a life of privilege and guilt, Bradlee’s is a life framed by self-belief and fierce competition. In the end both characters make for rich, attractive performances which are littered with piercing one liners and principled stand-offs.
Unlike ‘All The President’s Men’, which can feel overly factually detailed, here the facts never get in the way of the drama. You don’t need to be a long-time student of Washington politics to enjoy this movie. ‘The Post’ is a film of its time which also quietly manages to deliver a modern day commentary on the current mores of capitol Hill and what might happen if the free press buckles under presidential pressure.
Expect multiple Oscar nominations soon.0