'The Post' (2017) Review: A tightly constructed drama which is a fresh addition to Spielberg's filmography

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Tanmay Shukla

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, The Post, Directed by Steven Spielberg

There is not a single movie genre in popular understanding which is left untouched in the diverse and versatile oeuvre of Steven Spielberg. For a long time Spielberg has been the most marketable director, for he has made some of the world's most popular and acclaimed films of the last 40 years which includes the likes of Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Lincoln, etc.

Bridge of Spies, his previous film, was also a success, both commercially as well critically. With The Post, he embarked upon a difficult assignment to reconstruct the events which lead to The Washington Post publishing the Pentagon Papers.

In 1971, New York Times first published a front page story about the inconsistencies in what was announced publically and what was actually going on in Vietnam. Matthew Rhys plays the whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg who leaked the Pentagon Papers. Any further revelation is unnecessary. 

Katharine Graham (Kay) is the current publisher. Her father handed it over to her husband, who he thought was the perfect choice to lead. Kay had never thought that a day would come when she would need to stand up and take charge, and she never considered herself fit for such a role anyway. But when she is confronted with the responsibility, she almost surprises herself with her audacity. When she was in a dilemma, she chose to stand by the founding principles of the paper in spite of the grave consequences which entailed her decision. Meryl Streep has imbued new dimensions in her character Kay as she grows confident and asserts uncharacteristic authority when it's the need of the hour. Sarah Paulson, who plays a dedicated housewife Antoinette Bradlee, emphasizes this when she says that Kay is "a brave woman" who risked something that's been her "entire life." 
Meryl Streep as Kay Graham in The Post, Directed by Steven Spielberg
Meryl Streep as Kay Graham in Steven Spielberg's The Post
Ben Bradlee is executive editor of The Washington Post. Tom Hanks is up for the task to play an ambitious man who could sniff an opportunity coming his way from a distance. When the management decides to get listed publically in order to keep running, Ben gets a little adventurous. 

The Post is plot driven rather than character driven. Yet, the screenplay co-written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer don't let the characters fade away by the overarching action--the fine ingredients of the characters in the screenplay are translated to screen by Spielberg's precise direction. John Williams' tense music; Janusz Kaminski's cinematography which sought attention at the beginning of the film gradually settles; Michael Kahn and Sarah Broshar's nippy editing make sure that all these elements work in harmony to serve a script which is not overly reliant on deriving its identity from one, single specific categorization. 

There are a few points highlighted in the film but Spielberg has refrained from pointing at anything specific which is a good thing. Be it the freedom and the role of press or the timely arrival in current politics, the theme remains remarkably faithful to its subject, but also deftly explores relevant themes in context. 
Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee in The Post, Directed by Steven Spielberg
Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee in The Post
Steven Spielberg's The Post is a tightly constructed drama which unfolds at an even pace largely, and the climbing tempo during the pivotal moments makes the film gripping. Not to say that writing leaves the audience wanting for more, but what holds the film together is the director himself, who craftily collaborates the flamboyancy of a free flowing camera and kinetic editing to maintain pace without compromising with organic progression of the plot. 

The Post ends with a little prelude to the watergate scandal--the infamous burglary. Steven Spielberg perhaps paying homage to Alan J. Pakula's 1976 Hoffman-Redford starrer classic All The President's Men. Pakula's film is evidently superior, but if he were alive today and saw The Post he would be impressed by what Spielberg has achieved with the material under his possession. 

Rating: 7/10

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!  


People who liked this also liked...
Share on Google Plus


Post a Comment

Thanks for sharing for valuable opinion. We would be delighted to have you back.