By Alex Gehrlein ’19
From the acclaimed director Steven Spielberg comes a gripping story of free press and investigative journalism in the 1970s. While that might make it out to be a film in the vein of “All The President’s Men,” there is no contest as to which is the better film.
The Post’s main problem is its pacing. While this probably won’t bother most people, I could not help but address it. The entirety of this film hinges around an investigation into the location of the Pentagon Papers, and the effects they have on the lives of those working at The Washington Post. Seeing as how the focus of the film is an “investigation,” one would expect an actual investigation to take place.
Going in, I expected a film much like “All The President’s Men,” about reporters hitting the streets and tracking down these important documents, followed by the intense legal battle over their publication. The search for the documents actually takes up about ten minutes of the film, and is incredibly disappointing. If you could literally just get the documents with a single phone-call, why spend 40 minutes of screen time building up to it? And, to be fair, it isn’t as if I didn’t enjoy much of those 40 minutes; it’s just that they could have been condensed and carry the same impact.
Shortly after begins the best portion of the film, where I have no qualms. This section shows the speedy creation of the paper’s first articles while simultaneously showing the head of the paper’s (Meryl Streep) decision over whether or not to publish. I was legitimately invested in the film at this point, and it builds up to what you would think would be a great finale showing the heated court battle…and they flash forward to after it has finished.
Why? This confused me while I was watching it. You had been building up to this moment the entire film. You could have given great scenes of Streep and Hanks testifying, proclaiming the sanctity of the freedom of the press. Instead you just jump cut to the end? I was disappointed to say the least.
On another note, the writing in this film is quite good, and credit goes out to Liz Hannah (this was her very first published script), who gives us insightful characterizations of these real men and women and their situation. Spielberg as always is terrific. His directing abilities seem to never fault, and this is no exception.
Overall, there is enough good with this movie to warrant a favorable score, and I give it a 7.5 out of 10.