Film in review: “The Post”


The Winonan’s film reporter rates this film 4.5/5 stars

Blake Gasner, Features Reporter

Is it a coincidence that my first article with the Winonan Newspaper is a review of “The Post,” a film about newspapers? Maybe. Or possibly Mr. Spielberg, the great director behind this work, was making a direct statement at me on purpose, to ensure I follow through with the journalistic integrity this film preaches and give my most true, honest and integrity driven opinion possible. So in other words, he wanted me to blab about how inspiring I found “The Post” to be. We all know the names of a great handful of actors, whether it be Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie (#Brangelina) or the all-time greats featured in this movie itself, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. But rarely does one come across the name of a director who is as reputable as one Steven Spielberg. He’s simply revolutionized moviemaking through his efforts in “Jaws,” “E.T.,” “Indiana Jones,” “Jurassic Park,” “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan,” all considered to be some of the greatest films of all time. His career has reached exceptional heights, and I’m happy to say at age 71, he is still not done telling absolutely thrilling new stories.

“The Post” follows the events leading up to the leaking of the Pentagon Papers, a bevy of reports detailing the United States involvement in Vietnam from the years 1945 to 1967, and more primarily explores the audacity and decision-making that occurred during the Washington Post’s publishing of these incriminating documents.

This film is a history lesson in the best way possible. We learn history to progress past our mistakes, so it is notably discouraging that we did not learn from our mistakes during the course of this initial accident and now, in 2018, find ourselves in situation that feels gloomily similar to the situation that painted on screen for us in “The Post.” The publishing of the Pentagon Papers transpired over forty years ago and yet this entire film feels more relevant today than half the movies I saw throughout 2017. True patriotism oozes out of “The Post,” and not in the vein of G.I. Joes’ obliterating “bad guys,” who challenge freedom, but rather ordinary people standing up to a government that challenges the ideals of the nation it initially swore to serve.

Hanks’ magnetic performance as Ben Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post, and Bob Odenkirk (“Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul”) as Ben Bagdikian, Assistant Managing Editor, both hammer this home better than anyone else. Streep’s turn as Kay Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, instead tells an equally powerful arc on women’s roles in the workplace during a time when the average woman did not have authority in her career field. Somehow, Spielberg beautifully weaves both of these increasingly relevant topics together in a pattern that crisscrosses and only elevates each respective narrative even higher.

Yes, some may find the inclusion of these social issues a bit preachy. In fact, there were moments during the third act where I felt a bit beaten down by them myself but that is more a product of a lengthy runtime that does not need to be as lengthy as it is (116 minutes). Make no mistake though, a film about newspaper publishing may sound a bit slow, but it is very much the opposite. You will never be more on the edge of your seat while witnessing phone conversations in your life. PHONE CONVERSATIONS. That alone upholds Spielberg as still being at the top of his craft despite his forty plus years in the industry. The man knows our psychology as an audience and demonstrates a keen ability to place scenes and events together in a way that feels more natural than any director before. Whether it be shots of newspapers dispensing from a truck, a bland and simplistic board room overflowing with men or soldiers pinned to the Earth while the Viet Cong ravage their platoon in ambush, he is versatile and yet focused on one brilliant vision.

Consensus: If in the mood for a film that invigorates one’s love for the Constitution, asks questions about power over people, and grips you in a narrative that will, needless-to-say, require some thinking but still entertain you till you cross the finish line, “The Post” is a great movie for you. 4.5/5