The Post: a timely and praiseworthy film

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Photo courtesy of Fox.

Director Steven Spielberg, who brought the world important historical dramas such as “Bridge of Spies,” “Lincoln” and “Schindler’s List,” is back and has brought another extremely relevant work to audiences in “The Post.”

“The Post” takes place in the early 1970s during the Nixon administration. The film focuses on the publication of information contained in volumes detailing American involvement in the Vietnam War.

The public learns that government officials blatantly lied to the American people about the situation in Vietnam when many of these volumes are stolen given to The New York Times to publish.

However, the Nixon administration prosecutes The New York Times for publishing government secrets and, by court order, forces The New York Times to cease publishing.

Many of the volumes make their way to reporters who work for The Washington Post. Those in charge of The Washington Post must decide between risking the punishment that come from publishing the papers and ensuring their financial security by doing nothing.

Tom Hanks stars as Ben Bradlee, Editor-in-chief of The Washington Post, and Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham, the Post’s publisher. “The Post” features a great supporting cast including Bob Odenkirk, Bruce Greenwood and many other notable talents.

Bradlee fully supports publishing the papers; however, The Washington Post’s board, would rather not risk closure and is very much opposed to Bradlee.

Graham, at the time one of the only women in command of a large company such as The Washington Post, must navigate the muddled waters and decide whether to choose what is best for her investors or what is best for her country.

“The Post” is not a revolutionary film in any way, but it is a superb one that carries a timely message about freedom of the press and a healthy suspicion of unchecked administrative power shown through the smoke and ink-stained lense of the 1970s’ newspaper industry.

The performance of the whole cast is praiseworthy. Hanks, Streep and Odenkirk in particular are compelling in their roles and bring this true story to life. Streep incorporates a beautiful subtlety to her character that adds great depth to the film.

Like all historical dramas, audiences already know the outcome of the film. Yet unlike most, “The Post” creates an aura of urgency and suspicion that make this film one of the better historical dramas in recent times.

The great direction from Spielberg and the gorgeous period cinematography by Janusz Kaminsk engender this atmosphere.

The 1970s aesthetic of “The Post” is nearly perfect. Everything on screen feels real, as if one has taken steps back in time and has become an observer of history.

A problem that one may find with “The Post” is that the film is slow to present the main conflict. Because of this, there are a few tonal shifts that do not seem completely organic.

“The Post” is not a groundbreaking success;  neither is it a thrilling blockbuster nor a controversial political statement. Nevertheless, “The Post” is a well directed, well acted, beautifully shot and timely film that all history lovers, film enthusiasts and responsible Americans will appreciate.

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