Spielberg chronicles riveting story for the Trump era


FEATURED IMAGE: Tom Hanks portrays Ben Bradlee, left, and Meryl Streep portrays Katharine Graham in a scene from The Post.

You love movies about Robert McNamara.

While working at the Pentagon, Daniel Ellsberg discovers a cover-up concerning the war in Vietnam that spanned four USA presidents. Good thing its craftsmanship and acting makes it more likely to wear the years well.

Meryl Streep agreed to star in The Post because the plot depicts a "transitional moment" for women.

Set in 1971 in Washington, D.C., Spielberg's "The Post" is based on the fascinating true story of the Pentagon Papers, a revealing and extensive series of documents that exposed backroom US involvement in Vietnam stretching back to the Truman administration. Directed by one of our finest living filmmakers and starring two screen legends, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, the film comes at a time when we're being reminded that the fight for freedom of the press has been a long fight in our country's history. As the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, isn't taken seriously by the men in the boardroom, and she knows it. "Kate throws a great party", sneers Arthur Parsons (Bradley Whitford) not quite out of earshot. They are convincing as colleagues who don't always agree but who always respect each other.

Ellsberg, like New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger, Graham and Bradlee, knew he could have been arrested and convicted of crimes against the government and sent to prison. Why not tag as "fake news" the injunction sought by the Justice Department against The New York Times? Sarah Paulson plays Ben Bradlee's wife, Tony. He pursues the story with the purest, strongest force known to journalism - that of the scooped trying to scoop their scooper.

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The story has been crafted so as to understand why the decisions are taken then we're hard and puts in place the suspense as to how the decisions were made. Graham, the boss, is caught in the middle. Also, the way the costume and set designers bring the 70s back to life is simply stunning, and all those old-school newsrooms full of typewriters and paper stacks invoke nostalgia. Streep plays her with daring reserve, as she finds herself unable to speak in key meetings, or stand up for herself as her board of directors is disrespecting her in earshot.

In June 2017, Winfrey dismissed claims that she would be running for president, but after her emotive and political speech, her long-term partner, Stedman Graham told The Los Angeles Times: "It's up to the people".

While that part of the story works, especially when you see the respect Graham garners from women by film's end, the film as historical drama leaves a bit to be desired. "We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage", she said to a charged up audience, nodding at her every word.

T.H.R.'s latest report also reveals how much Robert De Niro will make for starring in David O. Russell's new mafia show on Amazon: the Oscar victor will collect $750,000 per episode, for a total of 20 episodes. And he warns her early in the movie that the Times will be publishing news about him in an unflattering way. Both Graham, born to privilege, and Bradlee, making his way there, are complicit in this.

Those who lived through The Washington Post's struggle against government opposition in the 1970s will want to relive the historic happenings through The Post.