The Post (M)
Rating: 3.5 / 5
In a world full of unique interpretations of what is and isn’t real news, we need a movie like The Post.
It’s 1971, and a New York Times reporter discovers “The Pentagon Papers”, top secret government documents revealing that four American presidents have misled the public about American operations in Vietnam, risking the fate of thousands of American soldiers fighting a war the government does not believe can be won.
Legal action prevents The New York Times from publishing anything about the Vietnam War that will reflect badly on the government.
Enter The Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep) and her passionate editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), who are determined that the American public must learn the truth.
However, if Graham and Bradlee publish these explosive revelations, they risk treason and imprisonment.
Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, took on the job of heading her father’s business after her husband’s death and the strong team relationship between publisher and editor is a story of triumph over the odds.
Muddying the waters is the prospect of The Washington Post going to a public float, where nervous investors would withdraw at any hint of scandal that publishing these incendiary truths would cause.
The battle between Bradlee’s ‘publish and be damned’ determination and the caution Graham’s advisers press her to take by refusing permission to publish is what turns this movie into a genuine political thriller.
The Washington Post is dragged into a dramatic court case that will dictate the freedom of the press in the future, so the stakes for Graham are incredibly high.
Performances from Streep and Hanks are excellent, and once the film gets going it is gripping. But there is too much time spent on side issues in the first half hour, which is confusing for the viewer.
Music by famous film composer John Williams is impressive, and director Steven Spielberg provides the film with a riveting conclusion and a tantalising final scene that predicts future events.
Highlight: Brilliant performances from Streep and Hanks
Red flag: Strong language, adult themes