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Movie Reviews

Posted at: Jan 12, 2018, 5:26 PM; last updated: Jan 12, 2018, 5:32 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW: THE POST

A prosaic revival


Film: The Post

  • Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Tracy Letts, Alison Brie
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
A prosaic revival
A still from The Post

Johnson Thomas

‘The Post’ is history but it should never have been repeated. Unfortunately, in the present day context it does seem that it is being repeated- both in America and India. Spielberg’s account is therefore a welcome reminder to those who have forgotten what the independent fearless Press can do to save democracy from the tentacles of constitutionally elected despots. But ‘The Post’ is not ‘All The President’s Men’ by any yardstick - even if it may be intriguing enough.

The detached and scattershot approach that Spielberg takes to delineate those important historically significant times makes you knowledgeable no doubt but it also leaves you unaffected to a large extent. The raw drama is missing. Important scenes that could have been driven with sharper focus seem to lose steam under the prosaic approach.

The film is technically sound but the narrative lacks power even though it has good intent on its side. Speilberg makes this effort a vote for the Freedom of the Press. The agenda here, and rightfully so was to connect the past with the present and it comes through quite evocatively but it’s not hard-hitting enough to make you sit up and take notice. The film does not throw light on why Katherine Graham’s (Meryl Streep) ex-husband and former editor of The Washington Post, committed suicide.  

Spielberg’s whittled down storytelling approach makes it a little too shallow a work. The film is about the real life leaking of the Pentagon Papers, which detail the United States' involvement in Vietnam even prior to the Vietnam War.  But presenting partial facts and glossed over moments in an unaligned rendition, there’s not much impact to be had here.  

The film’s capture of Ms. Graham’s transformation from timid to towering through the process of her decision to publish the so-called classified documents and subsequent handling of the controversy is basically its mainstay. Spielberg seeks to lay stress on the truism that the constitution is bigger than the people who occupy the seat of power but the message doesn’t come across as powerfully as it should.  

‘The Post’ may have opportunity and timeliness on its side but it comes across as an economy pack with none of the depth it deserved. The short runtime doesn’t do justice to the events it hopes to shed light on. So it’s largely left to Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks to shoulder the responsibility of making the film look at least half-way brilliant. And they rise up to the occasion with great acumen. Their performances are what keeps you engrossed in an otherwise dull, unexciting affair.



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