I was expecting a sky-high blockbuster of a film with Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg involved, however, while The Post is entertaining, it disappointed me.
Set in 1971, the film tells the true story of the discovery by Daniel Ellsberg, an American military analyst, of the shocking depths of continued governmental deceit and cover-up under four successive United States presidencies (Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson) in lying about the mounting losses of American lives in the Vietnam War. Driven by his conscience, he later covertly copies top-secret documents that would always be known as ‘The Pentagon Papers’.
Ellsberg (played by Matthew Rhys, Brothers and Sisters) leaks some of the incriminating papers to the New York Times, but the Nixon administration, outraged by the leaks, threatens the newspaper with legal action and takes them to the Supreme Court.
Rival newspaper, The Washington Post, however, picks up the scent and following an inspired manhunt under orders of editor Benjamin Bradlee (Tom Hanks), tracks down Daniel Ellsberg and gets a full copy of ‘The Pentagon Papers’. Now, to print or not to print…
Meryl Streep, as expected and as usual, performs impeccably; she plays the role of Katharine (Kay) Graham, the first female publisher of The Washington Post, with ultimate deliberation and tremendous courage. Graham succeeded her father and later her husband (after his suicide) as president and publisher. But, I sometimes felt the sentimentality of the movie was over-emphasised and wondered about the depiction of Kay Graham as a kind of bumbling/doddering woman uncertain of her position.
There is also a secondary story running — The Board of the family-owned newspaper is deciding whether to list as a public company and Kay Graham’s decision to print ‘The Pentagon Papers’, the investigation initiated by her good friend, the secretary of defense Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood), could bring disgrace to him for continuing the indefensible war. Graham and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) could go to prison and new shares in the company could be worthless.
A solid take on corruption of the system, and a subtle prequel to All the President’s Men.
ROK’S RATING: 3.5 glasses of bubbly
Rated: M (Coarse Language)
Genre: Drama, Mystery and Suspense
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: Liz Hannah, Josh Singer
Release date: January 11, 2018
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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