A Culturally Relevant Political Thriller
With recent developments around the globe involving fake news and a lack of government harmony, Steven Spielberg’s new politically charged thriller couldn’t have come out at a better time. Depicting a big cover up scandal involving Pentagon Papers that detail the fruitless endeavour of The Vietnam War, The Post feels like a culturally relevant film of our times. Of course, all these thematic and cultural undertones would be fruitless if the film itself failed to deliver and thankfully, The Post fires on all cylinders. This slickly presented, well shot thriller is helped by solid performances by Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep who together form a great chemistry on screen.
The story, based on real events, follows the first female newspaper editor Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) as she navigates the male-dominated world of running The Washington Post. Although there are hints of female empowerment and feminism at work here, it’s minimal and barely noticeable. Her hard-driving editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) works for and against her character as they debate about whether to post government secrets leaked from an insider detailing the Vietnam War. As the story progresses, The New York Times become entangled in the situation and it eventually escalates, presenting a tense, thrilling finale. The plot builds slowly and with a profound lack of action, this dramatic thriller focuses on the characters instead through some slickly presented cinematography.
When it comes to the technicality of the film, there’s no denying that The Post is artistic and polished in its presentation. The long, tracking shots following Kay and Ben from room to room while chaos ensues in the background is really nicely presented and utilised throughout the film. Accompanying these scenes, in true Spielberg fashion, is the emotionally charged soundtrack that elevates the eloquent and well written dialogue that flows and overlaps in equal measure.
Although the whole cast do a great job with their lines, its ultimately Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks that shine in this political thriller. Their presence on screen together drives the narrative forward and is perfectly presented. Both characters have a decent arc here too with Kay in particular growing in confidence and conviction as the film progresses. This attention to detail for the characters alongside the well paced plot are some of the reason The Post works as well as it does.
The Post is certainly a divisive film. There’s a particular cultural and thematic bite to this film that might irk those who see this as a political attack against current government establishments, especially in America. The beauty of The Post lies in the acting as it manages to convey tension and suspense solely through static dialogue and long, drawn out camera movements. This incredibly tricky feat is effortlessly presented and works perfectly here. There are moments where The Post drags unnecessarily but these sporadic scenes are few and far between, never detracting from the overall impact this film has. The Post is well worth a watch and in this political climate, couldn’t have come out at a better time.