Abril 20, 2018

'The Post' is a story of accidental greatness from great filmmakers

13 Enero 2018, 07:40 | Crisanna Felipe

The Post proves the power of the press 

Critics Laud The Post As 2018's Best Movie!

The Post is a really good movie though and I for one was happy to see a seminal moment in American history put in the hands of such a skilled group of performers and that every member of that group played their role, whether on camera or off, to perfection.

That sounds awfully didactic, but "The Post" isn't preaching.

Meryl Streep does Graham and Tom Hanks Bradlee.

Graham, Bradlee and company are also threatened with imprisonment by the Nixon administration but stand up with steely resolve.

Graham takes over after her husband's suicide in a bid to keep the newspaper within the family and is nearly continuously justifying her position to her detractors who feel she is not the right one for the job. They race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive coverup of government secrets that spanned three decades and four US Presidents. She's an indecisive socialite who mixes with Washington's who's who including Robert McNamara, who was President Richard Nixon's Secretary of Defense. And these leaders lied to the American public and Congress about the war and its scope. Oh, yes. But Spielberg knows something about movies, and that tableau, obvious though it may be, is lovely.

She somehow manages that despite appearing in what feels like half the movie in matronly nightgowns, with big hair that sets this squarely in 1971. That's an understatement, of course.

What gives the film power in the final act isn't just the newspaper's decision to publish the bombshell details of government lies and failures in the war with Vietnam, but the slow and steady steeling of Post Publisher Katherine Graham. The documents became known as The Pentagon Papers. Few do heroism, small or big, better than Spielberg, and the fact that he fashions them here out of mere words (not headlines), in times such as ours, deserves acknowledgment. When the Times courts legal trouble and is shushed by the government, the Post is left with the lucrative, yet destructive, opportunity to publish the rest of the leaked documents. But this is more about the growth of the Post from an essentially regional newspaper into a national powerhouse. There is a sequence late in the film that chronicles the assembly of the next morning's edition that is truly fascinating in that it shows how much things have changed as well as how much work was required in order to make a deadline in those heydays of print.

It's no surprise that Streep commands the screen as the embattled Graham. She seeks advice and suffers such advice when it's obvious that she's facing condescension. Two-time Academy Award victor Tom Hanks is Ben Bradlee.

You have already seen Star Wars. And it's clear that Spielberg is aware of these parallels. Didn't he get one for Captain Phillips?

Comparisons to ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN is inevitable, and this is a worthy film to pair with that classic, but this is the story that preceded Watergate, and without which Watergate would not have happened. And she's getting paid more than the lefty throwing a virtue signaling tantrum on her behalf.

Anyone lambasting the role of media needs to see this film. Streep's performance is predictably sensational at capturing a woman full of self-doubt in a society still skeptical of women in positions of authority, and Spielberg employs all of his skills in shots that emphasize her insecurity: peering down at her over Bradlee's shoulder in a way that pins her in a corner, or circling her at a party like she's prey just ready to be eaten.

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