A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government.
Dir. Steven Spielberg
Close to the end of the film when we are about to find out the supreme court’s judgement the rising action is shown using two devices. Both the devices are placed in the tumultuous newsroom of the Washington Post. The first one, is a journalist in the midst of the newsroom who is seen nervously clutching the receiver of a phone as the judgement is rolled out. The second device, is a man in an office adjoining the newsroom who awaits the judgement by a fax machine. The journalist is a more dynamic figure and I was sitting in the cinema hall hoping that she beats the man to the judgement. Yet, just a couple of moments later the man comes out and broadcasts the news just in time to beat her to it. The newsroom goes into a state of pandemonium, and so do I, in the limited scope of my cushioned seat.
Such is the charm of The Post. Steven Spielberg is back in a rather classical fashion. The Post was filmed after Ready Player One but the folks at DreamWorks decided to roll it out first and you can see why. With the perplexing state of world politics and press freedom coupled with the shift of power in Hollywood, The Post delivers just what we need. It takes us back into a time when the print media was threatened and freedom of speech was abridged. Something that we don’t need acquainting to.
Spielberg turns to the 1.85:1 aspect ratio for the first time since since his 2005 film The War of the Worlds. It’s the first thing I noticed and was immediately curious about the decision. Does it depict our parochial and constricted point of view? Or is he referring to a war between the worlds of journalism and administration? I hope to find out. Nevertheless, Spielberg’s long time collaborator Janusz Kaminski does full justice to each frame. Spielberg’s iconic blocking is always a treat to watch and gives us a vulnerable glance into those times.
Janusz Kaminski does full justice to each frame. Spielberg’s iconic blocking is always a treat to watch and gives us a vulnerable glance into those times.
Meryl Streep is an absolute delight. She is a powerful figure in the male dominated bureaucracy of the era which is time and again elicited during the course of the film. She is measured as a boss and emotional as a mother and gives much more than what the text demands. Her relationship with her employee, Ben Bradlee, wonderfully portrayed by Tom Hanks, is a treat to watch. Spielberg lets the actors do the job and doesn’t mess with much movement. He keeps his frames still and gives them freedom. Michael Kahn, Spielberg’s editor, doesn’t get too experimental either. He lets it roll as long as it can.
The Post is written by first time screenwriter Liz Hannah and Josh Singer. Singer, previously worked on Spotlight and The Fifth Estate and has become a veteran when it comes to depicting the world of journalism. The screenplay is structured and makes use of the characters and the situation to build the excitement and intrigue of the audience. It’s a task easier said than done and can be achieved only if one invests oneself completely into the fabric of the character whilst keeping the focus on the plot.
Coming back to the race between the fax machine and the telephone. I think the reason for its result is quite clear. The print media and its reach will not cease for a very long time. The written word is an under-appreciated form of investigation and bravery which keeps us in the loop with ourselves and the film shines a much needed light upon it. Go watch The Post and let it reiterate the cause it depicts.