Film review: The Post (5 out of 5)
We all know that Steven Spielberg is a master of entertainment, with the likes of Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and the BFG.
However, I reckon he’ll be revered in years to come as a director who managed to capture historic moments in masterful movies.
Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln, Munich and War Horse are just a few that come to mind.
And this film certainly slots into that category.
The Vietnam War was a morale-sapping and traumatic conflict and overall a political disaster.
A damning report in the early 1970s detailed the problems, cover-ups and reality about the whole affair that to date had spanned three Presidents.
So when these papers were leaked to the Washington Times, they were highly damaging to the current man in the White House, Nixon.
After an initial run of stories, the President managed to stop the Times from publishing more articles based on the report.
However, this film looks at the whole affair through those involved with the lesser known Washington Post.
The paper, a family-run affair, was struggling in an ever-increasingly competitive market.
Once the Times was gagged it was down to the Post whether to stand up for press freedom.
As ever, Spielberg brings out the best from an already talented cast.
Meryl Streep, though, is the stand-out performance as the Post owner Kay Graham.
The publisher had only recently taken over the reins after her husband’s suicide and she faced pressure from financial backers as well as from those still not comfortable with a woman in charge.
Streep shows all the complications and conflicting emotions with great skill.
Tom Hanks is also in good form as the editor Ben Bradlee, determined to reveal the truth behind the Vietnam War.
In true Spielberg style, though, the supporting cast is excellent, with the likes of Bradley Whitford (West Wing) and Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) standing out in particular.
The whole theme of the movie is timely, with the freedom of the press under more scrutiny than ever.
As the great American broadcast journalist Walter Kronkite said at the time: ‘Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy’.
Film details: The Post (12A) 116mins
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bradley Whitford
Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol