I watched this with my wife Melissa and she said, “it was good, but not gritty and authentic like “Spotlight“. So I’m intrigued that both films share the same screenwriter in Josh Singer. Spotlight was an incredible film, winning both Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards and was directed by Tom McCarthy who played the leading role of journalist Scott Templeton in season 5 of The Wire.
Both Spotlight and that season of The Wire portray events unfolding at a newspaper in remarkably fine detail.
Steven Spielberg, director of The Post has taken those efforts, given them a healthy spit and polish as well as an injection of ham and delivered his take on the 1971 publication by The Washington Post of leaked top secret documents implicating the US government in covert activity throughout the Vietnam War.
When The New York Times is prevented from running further details of the Pentagon Papers, The Post’s Editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks with an odd accent) must convince his publisher Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) to defy the White House legal threat and print more details of the government cover-up.
As one of the most prolific and celebrated feature film directors to come out of Hollywood, it’s no wonder that actors of the calibre of Streep and Hanks would jump at the chance to work with the man. Alongside these two (together for the first time) The Post boasts a cast of faces you’ll be wanting to look up on IMDB throughout the film.
Alison Brie (Mad Men), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Jesse Plemmons (Breaking Bad), Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), Bruce Greenwood (St Elsewhere), Sarah Paulson (Ocean’s 8), Tracy Letts (Homeland) are just a handful of familiar faces that populate this 70’s movie.
At this time of year I have enormous expectations on “Awards Season” films and The Post received 6 Golden Globe Nominations and won none, losing out to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in 3 categories, The Shape of Water in 2 and Darkest Hour in 1.
I honestly have to say that the crop of films I’ve seen so far have left me somewhat underwhelmed.
Compared to this time last year when titles like La La Land, Moonlight and Hidden Figures were bursting onto our screens, this year’s crop feel flatter. Even the colour palettes, with The Shape of Water in greens and browns representative of its 1960s ethos and The Post in drab tones to match the 1971 office mood are less than inspiring.
Perhaps this is what we get from filmmakers after a year of the Trump administration, but given how long it takes a film to get made, that explanation does not sit right.
The parallels between the Nixon and Trump administrations have made The Post feel like a particularly American tale, rather than a universal one, and this might detract from the overall appeal.
The performances are excellent, if at times hammy and this is a compelling true story. Given the glossy touch by Spielberg, it’s no Spotlight but still worth shining a light on. (Sorry!)
3 & 1/2 Stars. “An All Star Cast in a Well Told True Tale”