Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring – Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson
THE PLOT – A thrilling drama about the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post’s Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents. The two must overcome their differences as they risk their careers and their very freedom, to help bring long-buried truths to light.
Rated PG-13 for adult language and brief war violence
– The entirety of this acclaimed cast all bring their A-game, bringing to life a thick layer of personality to inspire these important characters to life. While I don’t think there’s anything that is award-worthy here, sometimes the consistency of an extensive cast matter more than just one or two actors carrying the load. Surprisingly, Bob Oedenkirk’s turn as a sarcastic writer is my personal pick for show-stealer.
– There’s some truly poignantly progressive material being depicted here that wasn’t evident in the two minute trailer. Women’s equality, taboo reporting, and of course the ‘Press Vs Politic’ wars that resonate so strongly today, all perhaps were magnified and brought to the forefront with this delicate chapter of American unveiling.
– Spielberg’s finely tuned mastering from behind the lens highlights once more why he’s one of the truly greatest American filmmakers of our and all time. Not only are his movements stylishly sleek, and visuals entrancing in echoing the authenticity of a cigarette clouded newsroom, but also experimental in his fine wine age of 71 for the success in strategy changes. Steven rarely has been someone to dive into long and continuous takes with his movies, but here he understands that the sharp-tongue dialogue of a newsroom is something that free flows and never subdues the longer it continues.
– Has there been a more valued musical composer than John Williams over the last forty years of cinema? Once again, Williams immerses himself into the moment synthetically, helming a score that audibly narrates the pulse-setting tones in attitude that each scene of versatility envelopes.
– Writers Liz Hannah and Josh Singer never cater to controversial with their script, instead choosing to focus on what has been proven with time with the dropping of these sacred documents. What I appreciate about this is that the screenplay lets history tell the story without relying on speculation (See Oliver Stone) to propel the entertainment factor.
– Some of my favorite scenes involved audio narration, an aspect in most films that always makes me moan in displeasure because of how tight they hold the hand of the audience as they walk them through it. Here instead, Spielberg’s phone calls to and from President Nixon should be appreciated for their intimate dive inside of the details, as well as for how grainy and clouded the connection sounds in replicating that coveted 70’s sound that so many time piece films overlook.
– The most moving stories to me are resonate with age, and because of our own modern day battle between President Trump and the media, this film feels like the perfect reflection in reminding us that no matter how far we’ve come, we’ve still got miles to go in the fight for journalistic integrity.
– This will shock many, but this film strongly lacked the kind of cinematic tension in keeping me on the edge of my seat. If I watched this anywhere but a theater, I would’ve stopped this film one or two times, despite its brief 110 minute runtime, and the reason for this is because a majority of the scenes feel like one-off expositions and never a conjoined movement that keeps elevating along the way. Too much is said and often not shown for the backlash that these people are facing, and I could’ve used more emphasis on their very risk in real time example.
– Especially towards the third act, Spielberg can sometimes toe the line a bit with meandering towards his audience. I say this because there is a scene with Nixon towards the end of the film that is so cringe-worthy because it feels like he is a villain from a Marvel comic book for the way the actor portraying him delivers his lines. Believe me when I say this is only one of the many examples, and frankly I was tired of being beaten over the head by the obviousness of the situation sometimes.
– Considering this film builds towards the inevitable confrontation inside of a courtroom, I was floored to see how fast the film rushed through this important period. So much of what I said in my first negative resonates here, as there’s no better place to harvest the uncertainty of a situation better than court. It feels like the film realizes it only has fifteen minutes left, and therefore sacrifices what could render some impactful scenes with Hanks and Streep on the stand, something we never ever see.