The Post (7.5 out of 10)
“If we live in a world where the United States government tells you what we can and cannot print, the Washington Post has already ceased to exist.”
I oftentimes miss the Golden Age of Steven Spielberg movies, when he directed films that inspired awe, wonder, suspense, and a feeling of adventure. From his late 70’s classics such as Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, to his 80’s hits such as the Indiana Jones films and E.T., and into the early 90’s with Hook and Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg captured audiences world-wide with his mesmerizing and engrossing directorial style. It was sometime after 1993’s Schindler’s List, though, that Spielberg began to move away from his earlier fare, and focused more on “mature” films with heavier political and social commentary, such as Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, The Terminal, Munich, Lincoln, and Bridge of Spies. That’s not to say that they were lesser films by any means, as many of them were among the best films of the 1990’s and the new millennium (with Saving Private Ryan still being one of my favorite war films of all time). That’s also not to say that he hasn’t tried to capture the wonder and awe of his early efforts, with offerings such as A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report, War of the Worlds, but his focus has clearly shifted as he’s gotten older, and he has moved away from his earlier work that I gravitated more toward.
Nevertheless, whenever I hear about a new Steven Spielberg movie coming out, I’m still instantly intrigued and want to see it, regardless of most subject matter, because I know that I will be watching a film by a master auteur; one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. So when I heard about his new film “The Post,” and especially when I heard the rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, I knew I wanted to see it as soon as possible. Sure, it’s more along the lines of his political/social commentary films that I’m not as into, but I figured it would at least be deftly directed and extremely well made. Thankfully, The Post is all those things and more, a very good, and at times great film that tells the true story of the Washington Post releasing stories in the early 70’s about confidential government documents regarding the Vietnam War that put the U.S. in a very negative light. While it started slow and took me a bit to really get into it (probably because it felt more like a stage play early on than a film), the movie picks up the pace and the tension as it goes along. It doesn’t hurt that it has Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in leading roles, with the two delivering stellar performances with some great lines and dialogue, and really working well together in each scene. It also benefits from having a strong supporting cast, as they are good-to-great all around as well. The production values are top-notch, and frequent Spielberg cinematographer Janusz Kaminski does a masterful job of effectively capturing each set piece and scene. Also, the story’s message is as applicable now, if not more so, than it was 45 years ago, making the film feel even more relevant today.
While it might not be along the lines of his earlier, and my more favored offerings, The Post is a very solid film that starts off slow but gets better as it goes along, building suspense and tension right up until the end (which is quite difficult to do for a true story when the audience already knows the outcome). It shows that, given nearly any subject matter, Steven Spielberg can deliver a very good and oftentimes great film, as he has a talent for making movies that is nearly unparalleled in the history of filmmaking. Maybe that, in and of itself, should inspire more awe and wonder. I give The Post a 7.5 out of 10.
- Ryan Zeid