The Lumberjack

Movie review: The Post

People leaving the Minor Theatre in Arcata on Jan. 21, 2018. Photo by Matthew Hable.

The Post is a well-made film.

The film is set in the early 1970s and details the leak of the Pentagon Papers. These classified documents revealed 20 years of the U.S. government’s involvement in Vietnam’s government. In addition, the documents uncovered our government’s knowledge of the Vietnam War’s poor state. It was one of the biggest scandals in the U.S. before the Watergate scandal. What’s more is that the Watergate scandal was exposed by writers of The Washington Post.

After The New York Times published parts of the Pentagon Papers, the Nixon Administration sued them and began threatening other news publications. If they published any classified information from the Pentagon Papers, they would face litigation.

The film focuses on The Washington Post’s dilemma of whether to publish the Pentagon Papers for the sake of informing readers. The other option is to play it safe and not face litigation from the Nixon Administration.

Tom Hanks portrays Ben Bradlee, a veteran editor for The Washington Post. Meryl Streep plays Kathrine Graham, who is trying to get used to leading The Washington Post after inheriting the company from her deceased husband.

Bradlee is eager to publish the Pentagon Papers in protest of the Nixon Administration’s silencing of the press. Meanwhile, Graham must decide if she should risk tanking her family company by allowing them to be published.

The film starts off slowly. The first half of the film focuses on Graham’s character dealing with the process of going public with The Washington Post. However, the film becomes engaging when the backstory is over. The plot thickens when The Washington Post gets their hands on the Pentagon Papers.

The strongest part of the film was when the Pentagon Papers were introduced. From there, the film becomes an interesting political thriller. The characters question the legitimacy of the government’s power to censor the press. They also consider what risks they are willing to take in order to inform the public.

The Post sets a relevant theme of today’s political climate. In particular, the Trump Administration’s manipulation of the press, withholding information from the public and the overall negative attitude towards the press.

One thing that worried me about the film was that it might have gotten a bit technical with the audience. The film “Spotlight,” while still being a very good film, had a lot of technical terms that might have gone over the heads of average movie goers. However, The Post felt easy enough to follow for the laymen who might not be familiar with journalism terms.

The cast was excellent in the roles they portrayed. Hanks and Streep did a fantastic job. The side characters were great as well. I was excited to see Bob Odenkirk, who stars in Better Call Saul, in this film. He did an excellent job of portraying his role as writer Ben Bagdikian.

There are some focusing issues in the beginning, but it picks up in the later part of the film. I would recommend giving The Post a watch.